How to write a check

How to Write a Check

A check is payable on demand item which means it is negotiable as soon as it is written. Checks cannot be postdated (i.e., written for a future date).

Stale Date

Some checks may be returned from the bank as "non-negotiable - stale dated" if the check is deposited six months after it is written or after the negotiable date on the check.

Anatomy of a Check


  1. Date - the date the check is written (cannot be a future date)
  2. Maker - person/business who writes the check - the name will be printed on the check
  3. Payee - person/business to whom the check is written
  4. Signature line or lines - two or more signatures can be required on a check
  5. Written amount - the amount written in numbers
  6. Legal amount - the amount written in words
  7. Check number - which is printed on the check and appears in the MICR line on the bottom of the check
  8. Banking information - both the name of the bank and the American Banking Association number appear on the check
  9. Account and routing numbers - appear on the bottom of the check in the MICR line