The parts of a check

Understanding the parts of a check

A sample check with numbers annotating each of its parts.

Instructions: Click each item to learn about the preprinted information and how to write a check.

1. Name and address

Your name and address are preprinted on the check for your convenience and to tell the person or company to whom you’re giving the check — known as the payee — that you’re the one who wrote it.

2. Date

This is where you write today’s date.

3. Pay to the order of

This is where you write the name of the person or company who will be receiving the money. If you’re making a withdrawal for yourself, you will write “Cash” here.

4. Numeric amount box

The amount of the check is written in this box.

5. Written amount

The amount in words is written on this line. You start at the left edge of the line and when you’re finished, you will draw a line through the remaining empty space as far as the word “Dollars.”

6. Bank name

The name of the bank that holds your account appears here.

7. For or memo

To remember what you bought, you can write a brief description in the “For” area — other banks may label this area “Memo.”

8. Signature line

Your signature should be the last thing you complete. It gives the bank permission, or authorization, to release the money to the payee.

9. Check number

The check number will help you keep track of your payments by check. Each time you write a check, you should record the check number, date, payee, and amount in your check register, and calculate your new balance.

10. Account number

The 10-digit account number is unique to your account. This tells the bank which account the money comes from.

11. Routing number

The bank routing number identifies the bank that issued the check. You need this number to set up direct deposit at work. Direct deposit allows your employer or the Department of Defense (DOD) to electronically deposit your paycheck directly into your account, without giving you a paper check.


  • Write in ink.
  • Write clearly.
  • Record every check in your register.

Click the Next button to continue.