What are bank checks used for?

How to Use Checks in the United States

How to Use Checks in the United States

While checks are rarely used as a means of payment in Europe, payment with so-called "personal checks" is still commonplace in the USA. Whether rent, electricity bills or school fees - Americans write more checks than any other country. Here we show you what to look out for when writing or receiving checks.

Most of the time, when you open a bank account in the US, you will automatically be asked if you want checks from the bank.

Some banks offer the first box for free, but other banks charge a fee, which is usually between $ 25 and $ 40, depending on the bank and the number of items. In some cases, you can also personalize your checks. In any case, a current address must be given. Therefore, you should only order your checks if you have a permanent address.

How do you fill out an American check?

1st date: There are different spellings here, for example 5-1-2017 or 5/1/17 or May 1, 2017, but as everywhere in the USA, it is important to name the month first.

2nd name: Name of the addressee. This can either be a person or a company (e.g. Walmart, Verizon, etc.).

3rd amount: There are usually two spellings here. Either you write the amount of cents after the period, about 235.50 (that's 235 US dollars and 50 cents), or you write the amount of cents in lower case and then put a slash next to which you write “100”. That means something like “0 cents out of 100”. In the example given, you would write “50/100”.

4. Amount advertised: For security reasons, the amount must also be written out. Here too, 00/100 is often written. A long line (“———”) is often added after short amounts so that no further numbers can be added. But this does not have to be done.

5. The line "For": On this line you write what the payment is for, such as "Rent" or "Phone bill" or a customer or invoice number ("account number" or "invoice number"). However, the line can also be left blank.

6. Signature: The signature must not be forgotten; without a signature, the check is invalid.

What do I do if I receive a check?

Most employers now pay salaries via bank transfer (“direct deposit”), but small companies and project work still give you checks. Checks are also often used by private individuals.

In order to be able to deposit the amount into your account, you must first sign the back of the check. There is usually a line on the left with the heading "Endorse Here". You can either deposit the amount into your account or have the money paid out directly in cash.

For a cash payment ("to cash a check"), many banks require identification and some banks can only accept cash payments if you have an account with the relevant bank.

Most banks now also offer apps that can be used to cash checks up to a certain amount in addition to other banking transactions.