Check Register Definition

by Sophie Johnson ; Updated July 27, 2017

A check register is a small booklet you receive with your checks when you open a checking account. It serves as a log of your account transactions as you fill it in, becoming an important record. As such, it is important to keep the register up to date and accurate. Keep old, used registers.


Register pages have columns. The number of columns varies, but all registers include space for crucial details about your transactions--date, check number, description, amount and balance, plus a column for check marks--that are used to balance your statement.

Ruled Lines

The ruled lines of a register typically alternate with white and gray, white and gray. The scheme is convenient, for you can use the lines singly or in twos. If you record a transaction using two lines--the double line method--adding things in the balance column becomes easier because you can use long addition.

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Number Column

The number column is meant for check numbers. Nowadays, though, with so many using plastic, the number column can be used to record other kinds of transactions, for instance, you might write "EFT" in this column for electronic funds transfers. Deposits might be written as "Dep."


Because space is an issue on registers, codes are useful. If you create a code for a certain type of transaction, stick to it to avoid confusion. Example codes include TD (tax deductible) or DD (direct deposit). Some registers have a code column and list commonly used codes as a reference.

Deposit Record

Registers tend to have a page to write deposits. However, you should record them in the register proper; this redundant record might be useful as an at-a-glance reference.


The front of the register has blanks to write the date you started using the register and finished it. It might also have blanks for starting and ending check numbers. The back cover has a calendar to reference as you date checks. The inside cover often has directions for use.

About the Author

Sophie Johnson is a freelance writer and editor of both print and film media. A freelancer for more than 20 years, Johnson has had the opportunity to cover topics ranging from construction to music to celebrity interviews.

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