You have your very first checking account! Yay you – your journey to young adulthood is underway. Checks may not be as popular today as they used to be, but they are still important. With access to your funds 24/7 through an ATM or debit card, there is less of a need for checks. However, you may find they come in handy when it comes to paying rent, give a gift, or when you have to send money to a company to pay a bill. It is always a good idea to have a checkbook for when you find yourself needing to write a check, even if you do not write checks daily.
We understand writing a check and keeping track of your finances for your new checking account may be new to you, so we broke it all down into four easy steps for you.
Step One: Writing a Check
Checks typically come in a book where you can tear one check off at a time. Keep in mind, just because you have several checks does not mean you have a lot of money. You can only write a check for equal to or less than your account balance. If you have a balance of $200 in your checking account, you cannot write a check for something that costs $250.
To write a check you simply fill in the blanks with the following information:
- Date – Fill in the date that you write the check
- Pay to the Order Of – Write who the check is for (person’s name or company name)
- Amount – Write the amount numerically in the amount box and as words on the amount line
- Memo – Make a note of what the check is for (ex. Rent, Consumers, etc.)
- From – Sign the check here. The check cannot be cashed without the signature of the person who wrote the check
Check out this image of an HACU check all filled out:
Step 2: Record the Amount
Even though you have filled out the check you are not quite finished yet. It is important to keep track of how much money you have in your account by using your check register. While online and mobile banking are a handy tool, it is also a good idea to keep track of your finances with a check register so you always have an up to date record of your account. Sometimes companies take a few days to process your transaction and it does not appear on your online or mobile banking right away.
Use your check register to keep record of all your checking related transactions, including checks written and deposits. After you write a check, record the following information in your check register:
- Check number
- Who the check was written for
- What the check was for
- Account balance
Do not forget to add in money deducted from your checking account from your debit card. When recording debit card transactions in your check register, use the abbreviation “DC” (debit card), where you would normally put the check number.
Step 3: Endorsing a Check
If you get a check made out to you like a paycheck or gift money, you must endorse the back of the check to receive the funds. To endorse the back of the check you simply sign your name on the back of the check and you can deposit the check in to your credit union account or can take the amount of money in cash.
When endorsing your check, you will need to sign your name as it appears on the front of the check. Only sign the check when you are ready to cash or deposit it. If you sign it before and lose your check you could run the risk of someone else picking it up and cashing it.
Step 4: Reconciling Your Account
Every month you will get a free monthly e-statement from Health Advantage. The statement will list the dates and amounts of deposits and withdrawals along with check numbers and amounts for the past month.
You can use your statement to reconcile your account. This is often referred to as balancing your checkbook. You will be able to see how much you deposited into your account, how much you spent, and how much you have left.
Get Started Today
Don’t have a checking account with HACU? One of our Credit Union Experts can help you find the one that is right for you. Take advantage of NO fees, NO monthly service charges and NO minimum balance requirements, and NO per check charges with our Essential Checking Account. Looking for more? Take advantage of credit file monitoring, identity monitoring, cell phone protection, and more with our Premium Checking Account.
Schedule an appointment today and talk with one of our Credit Union Experts!
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