Check | Definition


A check is a bank-issued document that orders a bank | loan | bond | fund | spac | debt | loan | atm | definitionsto pay a specific amount of money to the bearer of the check.

Next word Bank Product | Definition ᐳ

Did You Know

Mobile check deposits are very popular, especially since we are in a technology-friendly era. A mobile check deposit refers to a digital banking tool that will allow someone to deposit a check to their bank account by simply using their mobile device (cell phone).

What is a Check?


Checks are an important tool in the world of finance. A check is a document issued by a bank that orders it to pay a specific amount of money to the bearer of the check. Checks are commonly used as a safe and convenient way to transfer money and make payments, especially for large transactions.


Nine Key Parts of a Check


There are five main parts of a check:


  1. Bank Name: At the top of the check, your bank’s name will be shown. 
  2. Your Personal Information: You will find your first and last name, including your address, in the upper left corner of your check.
  3. Check Number: The check number is used for tracking your check and money. You can find the check number listed in the upper and lower right corners of the check. 
  4. Routing Number and Account Number: On the bottom of the check, there are two sets of unique numbers. The bank’s routing number is the first set, which is a nine-digit number listed at the bottom of the check, and it serves as an address for your bank. The routing number is used for electronic transactions that include bill payments, direct deposits, digital checks, and funds transfers. The second set of numbers listed on the bottom of the check is the account number which is assigned to you by your bank to identify your account. The account number will let your bank know from which account to withdraw or deposit money.
  5. The Date Line: The date line is where the date the check was written is recorded. 
  6. Payee Line: The payee line is where the name of the person or company the check is addressed to. To identify this section, you will see “pay to the order of,” which is where you must write the recipient’s first and last name.
  7. Amount Line: The amount line is where the amount of money the check is for is recorded.
  8. Signature Line: The signature line is where the person writing the check signs it. 
  9. Memo Line: The memo line is optional and is where additional information about the check can be recorded.


Recommended Read: Gross Pay vs. Net Pay: What's The Difference?


How Do Checks Work?


When a person writes a check, they instruct their bank to pay the specified amount to the person or company listed on the payee line. The bank then deducts the amount from the account of the person who wrote the check and transfers it to the payee's account. Banks use several security features to prevent fraud, such as watermarks, holograms, and magnetic ink.


Man handing employee a paycheck


Recommended Read: How to Protect Yourself Against Credit Card Fraud


Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Checks


One advantage of using checks is their convenience. They can be used to pay bills or make purchases without needing cash. Additionally, checks provide a record of all transactions, making it easier to keep track of finances. However, there are also disadvantages to using checks. They can be lost or stolen, and if someone gains access to the account information on a check, they can potentially use it for fraud. There may also be fees associated with using checks, such as overdraft fees or stop-payment fees.


Mobile check deposit


Checks and Other Bank Products


Checks are often used in conjunction with other bank products, such as loans, bonds, funds, SPACs, debt, and ATMs. Loans can be obtained by writing a check to the lender for the loan amount. Bonds, funds, and debt are often paid through checks. ATMs allow individuals to deposit checks and withdraw cash without visiting a bank branch. When writing a check for a loan or other product, it is important to understand the associated interest rates and APRs to ensure the best deal.


Recommended Read: Interest Checking Account vs. Savings Accounts


The Money Wrap-Up


Checks are a vital tool in the world of finance. They provide a convenient way to pay bills and make purchases while providing a transaction record. However, risks are also associated with using checks, such as fraud and fees. When using checks with other bank products, it is important to understand the terms and conditions to ensure the best deal. Overall, checks are an important tool for managing personal finances effectively.

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