due_logo
Search
Close this search box.

Table of Contents

Check



Definition

A check is a written, dated, and signed instrument that contains an unconditional order directing a bank to pay a definite sum of money to a payee. The person or entity writing the check is known as the drawer, while the person to whom the check is written is the check’s payee. It serves as a legal document that authorizes the bank to withdraw funds from the drawer’s account and pay that amount to the payee.

Phonetic

The phonetic spelling of the word “Check” is /tʃɛk/.

Key Takeaways

  1. What is a bank check? A written, dated, and signed request for a bank to pay a specific amount of money to the individual specified on the check is known as a bank check. When you write a check, you are essentially authorizing the bank to withdraw the specified amount of money from your account and pay the individual listed on the check.
  2. How to write a bank check: When writing a bank check, it’s important to have the following in mind:
    1. Make sure to include the date, the name and address of the payee, the amount of the check, and your signature, among other details.
    2. Put the check’s amount in both words and figures.
    3. Keep your account from being overdrawn.
  3. How to cash a bank check. You can bring a bank check to a bank or credit union to get it cashed. Both your identification and the cheque itself must be shown. After the check has been verified, the bank will pay you the money.

Importance

A check is an important financial instrument that plays a key role in the non-cash payment system. It is a written, dated, and signed instrument that contains an unconditional order from the drawer (the person who has written the check) that directs a bank to pay a definite sum of money to the bearer (the person to whom the check is issued). This provides a convenient way to transfer money without physically carrying cash, thus adding a level of security to financial transactions. Checks also offer an easy way for businesses to keep track of expenses for accounting purposes, reducing potential errors and discrepancies. Moreover, some transactions and businesses prefer or require checks because of the delay of final payment which affords payers more control over their accounts. For these reasons, checks remain an important part of the business and finance world, even in an increasingly digital age.

Explanation

A check serves an important role in various financial transactions, enabling a safe and documented exchange of money between parties. It is a written document that instructs a bank or other financial institution to pay a specific amount of money from a person’s account to the person or entity named on the document, therefore ensuring a secure transfer of funds. It helps to eliminate the need for individuals to carry large sums of money, making transactions safer. Checks are also beneficial owing to their traceability, making them useful for record-keeping purposes. When used to pay for goods or services, for instance, a cancelled check can serve as a proof of payment. Businesses, too, often use checks to pay operational expenses like salaries, bills, and other costs as they can easily track and manage their outgoing finances. While facing competition from electronic payment methods, checks remain a viable payment method trusted for its security and familiarity.

Examples

1. Paying with a personal check: One common use of checks that many individuals carry out on a routine basis involves paying for goods or services by writing a personal check. For example, a person might write a check for groceries at a local grocery store. This is a direct payment method where the money will be drawn from the check writer’s bank account. 2. Payroll checks: In many businesses, employees are often paid via checks. The organization writes a check to the employee for the services they have rendered during a particular time period. The employee then deposits this check into their bank account. For example, a teacher being paid monthly salary through a paycheck from their school district. 3. Rent payment: Many tenants choose to pay their rent using checks. For example, instead of paying cash or making a direct deposit, a renter might write a monthly check to their landlord. This is often a preferred method because it provides a paper trail and can help avoid disputes regarding whether payment was made.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a check in finance?
A check is a written, dated, and signed instrument that directs a bank to pay a specific sum of money to the bearer.
Who are the parties involved in a check?
There are three parties involved in a check – the drawer who writes the check, the payee to whom the check is written, and the drawee or bank that pays the money.
Can I postdate a check?
Yes, you can postdate a check by writing a future date. However, it’s up to the bank whether to honor the check before its date.
What does it mean if a check is bounced?
A check is bounced or returned if there are insufficient funds in the drawer’s account to cover the amount of the check.
What is a blank check?
A blank check is a check where the amount is not specified and must be filled out before use. It’s typically signed by the drawer.
How long does a check remain valid?
In most cases, a check remains valid for six months from the date of issue.
What is a cashier’s check?
A cashier’s check is a check guaranteed by a bank. The funds are drawn from the bank’s own funds and signed by a cashier.
What is a traveler’s check?
A traveler’s check is a preprinted, fixed-amount check designed to allow the person signing it to make an unconditional payment to someone else as a result of paying the issuer for that privilege.
What happens if a check is lost or stolen?
If a check is lost or stolen, you should immediately notify your bank and request a stop payment. This can prevent the check from being cashed.
Is it possible to cancel a check after it has been written?
Yes, it is possible to cancel a check after it has been written. This process is known as a stop payment order. Keep in mind that this typically involves a fee, and you should notify the person to whom the check is written.

Related Finance Terms

Sources for More Information


About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More