Thursday, June 28, 2007

Checking account & How to write a check

Similar to a savings account, its an account in which you can write checks. When you open a checking account, you will get a check book. Many banks charge a fee, others give the first check book for free. Instead of using cash to pay for things, you can now write a check. Its convenient and somewhat easy to use. I say somewhat easy because at the beginning, you may make mistakes when you write a check. You have to be more financially responsible with your checking account than your savings account. If you write a bad check (meaning there is insufficient funds in your checking), the bank will charge a fee and the check may either bounce back or the bank will cover it.

Here's one thing you should take from my experience: "ALWAYS BALANCE YOUR CHECKING ACCOUNT." If you put money in, record it and add it to the current balance. If you take money out or wrote a check, record it and make the deductions from the balance. If you get lazy and you don't do this, you are going to throw yourself off and you are going to wonder how much money you have in your checking account. I personally use Microsoft Money software to track my checking account (I also use it for other purposes such as tracking my investments and other money stuff).

In the age of digital technology and internet, the art of writing a check may be lost. Most people pay their bills online than mailing their check and putting a stamp on the envelope. But there will be a time when you need to write a check out and so here, I will teach you how to write a check

Step 1) Very simple, write the date next to the "Date". You might want to use numbers instead of writing it out. You don't have much space to write the whole date out in letters and numbers.

Step 2) Find out who you are writing the check to and write the name on the line next to "Pay to the Order of"

Step 3) After that, write the correct amount in the box next to the "$"

Step 4) On the line under "Pay to the Order of", write out that amount from Step 3 in LETTERS. You can either print it or write in cursive. Most people tend to mess up here. If you are writing a check out for $1433.21, it should read "One Thousand Four Hundred Thirty Three and 21/100" MAKE SURE YOU WRITE THIS OUT CORRECTLY!!! Be careful where you put the word "and". ***If there's lots of space between your writing and the word "Dollars", draw a line in between them.***

Step 5) Sign (DON'T PRINT) your name on the line near the lower left hand corner.

Step 6) This is optional, but on the line next to your signature is the memo line. It may say "For" next to it. You don't have to put anything on there. Some companies ask you to write the account number or policy number on the memo line so that they can credit the right account. (There could be more than one person who has the same name as you).

Step 7) Note the check number, date, the payee and the amount on the check. You should record this in the check ledger, located near the front of the check book. Make the appropriate adjustments on the balance. In my example, if you had $5000 in the checking account and you wrote a $1433.21 check, the new balance would be $3566.79.

Step 8) When you get your monthly bank statement, you want to make sure everything is accurate. (even banks can make errors. Its rare, but it does happen).

Near the end of your check book are deposit tickets. If you want to deposit money into your checking account, you would use these ticket. I personally deposit money into my savings account and then go home and then transfer the money from my savings to my checking account online. You don't have to do it my way, I just find that way easier for me.

About those numbers on the bottom of your check:
1) The numbers on the bottom of your check includes your bank routing number, your checking account number, and the check number.
2) The first 9 digits is your bank routing number.
3) The next 9 digits is your checking account number.
4) The final 3 or 4 digits is your check number, which is also located on the top right hand corner of the check.