Even if you don't like to carry money, you still might find an instance or two when cash is the preferred method of payment. Perhaps you'd like to visit a flea market or leave the tip when a friend takes you out to lunch. You can use your debit card to access the funds in your bank account, but writing out a check to "cash" gives you the opportunity to list what the money is being used for in the memo section. That can help you when creating a budget or act as proof of payment when a friend doesn't remember you repaid her for your half of the joint wedding gift you gave.
Start With the Date
Begin writing your check by listing the date in the provided space at the top right-hand corner of the check. It doesn't matter what format you use to do this, such as writing 7/1 or writing July 1 and then the year, as long as you write the date out in full. If you are missing the month, day or year, you risk having the teller refuse to cash the check.
Fill Out the "Pay To" Field
Your check will either have printed "Pay To" or "Pay To The Order Of" on the first full line It is here that you need to spell out the word "cash." Keep in mind that when you do this you are authorizing anyone who holds the check to cash it. That could be you, a friend or someone who could have picked up the check if you accidentally dropped it somewhere on the way to the bank.
Read More: What's My Bank of America Routing Number?
Add the Amount of the Check
There are two fields where you need to write the amount of the check. The box on the right-hand side, at the end of the "Pay To" field, is where you list the dollar amount in number form, such as $150.50 or $150 50/100. The next line, beginning on the left-hand side, is where you write out the dollar amount in word form, such as "One-hundred fifty and 50/100."
Use the Memo Section
It's always a good idea to list what you are using the cash for in the memo section. If you are paying for a service, you could write "John's Pest Control, Flea Treatment" on the memo line. If giving a child money for a school trip, you could write "Bobby's Great Adventure Trip."
Sign the Check
The final step in writing a check payable to cash is to sign the check. The signature needs to match the signature the bank has on file for you. If you plan to cash the check yourself, you'll need to sign the back of the check before handing it to the teller. If the check is for someone else, deliver it to that person. The recipient will sign the back of the check and list his or her bank account number directly underneath the signature.
Read More: What's My Chase Bank Routing Number?
- To cash the check, take it to your bank and sign the back of the check to endorse it. The bank may require identification before cashing it for you.
- A more secure option is to write your own first and last name on the “Pay to the Order of” line, advises certified credit union financial counselor Susan Tiffany, writing for Abri Credit Union. With your name as the payee, no one else can cash the check.
- A check for cash is virtually identical to cash. Theoretically, anyone who possesses the check can endorse and cash it.
Alicia Bodine is a New Jersey-based writer specializing in finance. With more than 13 years of experience, her work has appeared in LendingTree, GoBankingRates, Sapling, Zacks and budgeting.thenest.com.