Many Canadians have resorted to a modern and technological form of bank payments. Making payment via online transfers, debit, and credit cards is the new order of the day.
Even though digital payments are continually gaining ground, it is still essential that you know how to write a cheque. While less common in Canada than they once were, cheques are still widely used today.
Paper cheques are still an effective and inexpensive tool to move your money. Many employers, businesses, and organizations still rely on making cheque payments.
Yes, you may not have to write a cheque every day; maybe you have never written a cheque before, or you might not even know how to write one.
It will be helpful if you know how to write a cheque. There are situations where you might not be able to make digital payments, and cheques will come in handy.
Writing a cheque is a straightforward process. This guide will show you step by step how to write a cheque. Without skipping any step, I will be taking you through how to write a cheque from top to bottom.
How to Write a Canadian Cheque
To learn how to write a cheque correctly, you need to know how to read the different fields that make up a cheque, most especially the parts that need to be filled up while writing a cheque.
How To Write a Cheque: CIBC Cheque Sample
The image above is a sample of a CIBC cheque, and I will use this sample to explain in detail how to write a cheque properly. Without a beat, let’s get to the fun part of learning how to write a cheque in 6 quick and easy steps.
1. Write the Date in the Date Box
The date is usually the date the cheque is written and signed. It should be at the top right-hand corner of the cheque. You may be able to use the cheques between three to six months after the date was originally issued.
A post-dated cheque means that the payee has written the cheque for a future date. If you issue a post-dated cheque to a merchant, the merchant may be able to deposit that cheque before the payable date comes provided the payee has enough balance in his/her account.
2. Write the Payee Name in the “Pay to the Order” of Line
Fill in the payee’s name on the “pay to the order of” line. Whenever you write a cheque, make sure you spell the name of the payee correctly.
You should make sure that the name is spelled as per their bank’s record. It is important that you do not use abbreviations, acronyms, or synonyms for writing names because it may become difficult for the bank to know how to trace the identity of an individual if something goes wrong.
3. Write the Amount in Numbers in the $ Box
Write the amount in numbers in the box after the ‘$’ sign. Ensure to appropriately include cents.
Many who write cheques still struggle with writing a cheque in cents. If, for instance, your cheque amount is 160 dollars and 50 cents, you will have to write it as 160.50.
It is necessary to use two decimals for writing the cents amount. Using the previously outlined example as a reference, it is $160.50, not $160.5.
4. Write the Amount in Words
Next up, write the same amount in words below the payee name in the designated field. This field is not required to be filled in by law, but it is recommended that you write your cheque amount in words as well. This is a recommendation you should take seriously.
5. Write a Short Comment in Memo Line
This section lets you add a short description stating the reason for that cheque payment specifically. Examples of this are: “July rent payment” or “Phone bill”. If you want to remember the reason for writing the cheque, this is useful.
6. Write your Signature
At the bottom right corner of the cheque, you will see a signature line meant to be signed on. A legible signature that is recorded with your bank is what you are expected to use there.
This signature is what confirms the validity of the cheque and lets the bank know that you agree to pay the amount to the payee claimed.
Before writing your cheque, you may actually want to consider whether that’s the best way you can make that payment. Writing a cheque or even cashing it may look like a lot of work in this day and age where we have a plethora of options for making instant, fast and easy payments.
For example, you can make most of your daily payments using the following options such as:
- Credit Cards
- Debit Cards
- Interac E-Transfers
- Bank Transfers
- Automatic Bill payments through the bank
- Global Money transfers
In my opinion, these options are easier and more cost-effective at least until you need to move a very large sum of money which of course might make cheques a better choice.
After writing your cheque, it is good practice to record your payment and transaction on your cheque register while the transaction is still very fresh in your mind.
The cheque register is often included when you order your checkbook from your bank. However, if you did not receive the cheque register with the order, you can also make use of any notebook as a makeshift cheque register.
Your cheque register helps you track the following information:
- The cheque serial number
- How many cheques you have written
- How much money you have issued
- Who you have paid the money to
- When you made these transactions and why
Filling out your cheque register is optional, but listing all your transactions can definitely help you monitor the flow of your money and lower the risk of fraud. You can also use your register to keep track of cheques that people give you if it pleases you to do so.
General Tips on Safety and How to Write a Cheque to Someone
If you have doubts about using cheques because you want your money safe, here are some safety measures you can take:
1. To stop anyone from erasing and rewriting the cheque, write it with a pen instead of a pencil
2. Have a consistent signature that is very hard to forge
3. When filling out the cheque, don’t just leave lots of blank spaces open, and don’t allow anyone to fill out the cheque for you.
4. It is advisable to not make any cheques payable to cash. This is a very popular culprit in the event of loss or theft because it allows the withdrawal of cash without the depositing of a cheque.
Also, to prevent your cheques from being ruled invalid due to mistakes, here are some other tips to avoid such situations:
- If you enter a wrong entry or make mistakes in the recipient’s name or amount, you may cross out the mistake using one horizontal line should be enough to cross out the mistake, then input what is correct
- Your initials should be provided after the error. This is to indicate approval
- Write ‘void’ in the block across the entire cheque if the error is bad beyond repair
- Completely destroy the voided cheque and dispose of it if you are not satisfied with just voiding it
How to Write a Void Cheque
A void cheque is a cheque that has ‘VOID’ boldly written over it. It prevents anyone from trying to fill out that cheque and using that cheque to make payment.
You can use void cheques to set up electronic linking to your bank account. The bank might ask you to provide a void cheque when you want to set up a payroll deposit or automatic payments.
Voiding a cheque prevents criminals from filling out the cheque and withdrawing money from your account.
To write a void cheque, take out one of your cheques and boldly write “VOID” across it in capital letters using a permanent marker or a pen.
Ensure you do not cover the banking information at the lower left of the cheque.
How to Write a Cheque to Yourself
To write a cheque to yourself, put your name on the ‘Pay to the order of’ line. Fill out other parts of the cheque accurately, like the date, amount, and signature.
Endorse the back of the cheque in the endorsement area at your bank and show your valid ID to the teller.
What Is A Cheque and How Does It Work?
A cheque is a type of bank-issued payment. They’re typically used to make payments between two parties who do not operate under the same financial institution.
For example, if you didn’t have a savings or cheque account with your local bank, you could still pay someone who does with the use of a cheque.
Cheques are issued by financial institutions for use by clients, and usually, come with a booklet of identical cheques that have been printed with your personal information on them.
The booklet is usually free (depending on your financial institution), but may have costs associated with it when ordered and replacement pages.
A lot of businesses don’t accept cheques anymore, but there are still some situations where they can be utilized. Examples are:
- Borrowing funds from someone and wanting to pay them back
- Paying your landlord for rent
- Paying to cover tuition, medical bills, or other large expenses
- Purchase goods and services from specific small businesses
- Paying home maintenance professionals
- If you don’t have an online banking account yet
Cheques are easy to understand and have some unique identifiers. If you check, the final feature that you will see on a standard cheque is four sets of numbers.
These digits are unique to each cheque and let the receiver’s bank locate your account so they can withdraw the funds via electronic means. These sets of numbers are:
- Cheque Number
- Transit Number
- Institution Number
- Account Number
The other important features on a cheque include:
- The details of your bank
- A spot in the to fill in the date (DD/MM/YYYY)
- A line labeled “PAY TO THE ORDER OF” where you’ll write the recipient’s name
- A line ending in “DOLLARS”, where you must spell out the payment amount
- A space to print the amount in numerals
- Name, address, and postal code
- A line labeled “MEMO” where you can describe the cheque’s purpose
- Another line beside it where you can put your signature
Pros and Cons of Using a Cheque
- They are convenient when relatively compared to cash
- Payments can be stopped at any point in time
- Safely levels are quite high when you use cheques
- When paying large sums of money, cheques are very useful if you know how to use them
- A cheque can be traced with relative ease
- They are very easy to carry around globally
- They are considered obsolete
- They are not taken as legal tender in places
- Creditors often decline to accept them
- Cheques are valueless if the owner has no money in their account
Final Thoughts on How to Write a Cheque
The best way to pay someone is usually with a cheque, money order, credit card, or debit card. But there are still some businesses and institutions that only accept cash or cheques, so know how to use them.
There are times when the ATM won’t give you cash when you need it. On days like this, all you can do is give them a cheque. In that case, you need to write one. But if you’re out of checkbooks (or running low), it’s handy to know who can print you some more.
FAQs on How to Write a Cheque
How long does it take for a cheque to conclusively clear?
For cheques on or below $1,500, it is 4-5 days. In the case of cheques over $1,500, the max period of holding is 7-8 days. Keep in mind that cheques could clear sooner in some cases.
People who have a good and trustworthy history with their bank can leverage this by writing the cheque and asking their bank to help them clear it quicker.
Can I deposit a cheque written out to my maiden name?
According to Payments Canada (an authority in settling financial transactions in Canada), there is no official statement on whether the name on a cheque has to be in line with the name of the account holder who is doing the depositing. A financial institution’s individual policy is the determinant of how they go about it.
Can I write a cheque to myself?
Yes. It is not unusual to want to write yourself a cheque. It is perfectly legal to write a cheque to yourself, maybe from one personal bank account to another.
When should I sign the check?
It is better to sign a cheque just before you deposit it. It is best if you want to prevent fraudulent persons from depositing a cheque made out to you.
How to write a cheque with cents?
Write out the full amount in the box for numeric amounts, including dollars and cents. For example, you should write 709.50 and not 709.5.
In the line for the amount in words, write the same amount in words and include the cents. For $709.50, write, ‘Seven hundred and nine dollars and 50/100’.
How do I post-date a Cheque?
A post-dated cheque is usually dated for the future. If you want to send a cheque prematurely, you should post-date the cheque. To post-date a cheque, you only have to date it in the future. If today is March 1, you can date the cheque for April 15 if you will be depositing the cheque on April 15.
How long is a cheque valid for?
Regular cheques are stale-dated after six months, and you can no longer deposit them. However, your bank can decide if it will accept stale-dated cheques. Note that money orders, bank drafts, and federal government cheques are never stale-dated.
How to write a cheque Scotiabank
Write a Scotiabank cheque as you would for any other cheque. Fill out the all-important part with the correct information. Write the date, name, and amount, and sign your cheque.
How to write a cheque RBC
Writing RBC cheques are as easy as every other cheque. Follow the steps outlined above and fill out all the necessary parts of the cheque.
How to write a cheque TD
TD bank cheques are the same as every other cheque and should be written as such. Include the date, amount in words and numbers, and the name, and do not forget your signature.
Hi, I'm Adeola Adegoke. I am a licensed Insurance Broker in Manitoba, and I hold a master’s degree in Mathematical Sciences (with a major in Financial Modeling) from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), Tanzania.
Also, I have a second master's degree in Statistics from the University of Regina, and I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in Statistics at the University of Manitoba.
The primary purpose of Money Reverie is to help everyday Canadians make better financial decisions by providing up-to-date financial news and information, reports, product reviews, and government programs.