What Do Those Symbols and Numbers Mean? Anatomy of a Business Check

Checks are a form of paper that people use to transfer money from one point to another. It is a written order instructing a bank to pay a certain amount of money from a specific checking account to a particular person or company.

Checks offer a reliable payment method for goods and services. With checks, you don’t need to carry large amounts of cash when moving from one place to another. Checks also offer an excellent way to keep track of what money you’ve spent and on what. This will help you to be attentive about your spending, your purchases and avoid spending than you intended.

To use checks, you should have a stack of blank checks. You will usually get them from your financial institution after opening a checking account. Don’t worry if you’ve used them all up because all types of business checks are available online.

The idea of writing a check can be intimidating, especially if writing for the first time or after a long time. Checks also involve money and don’t come with any instructions.

But after you’ve understood the different parts of a check, you’ll be able to write it in just a few minutes. Read more to learn about the anatomy of a business check.


Here you will write the date that the check is written. It is important to note that you cannot post-date checks and so ensure that the date you write is current.

Name and Address

Your personal information such as the name and address are preprinted on the check for ease of use, and so the person or entity you’re writing for can know that the check came from you. This information is found at the upper-left corner of a check.

Your bank might give you a temporary checkbook with a blank spot where you can write your personal information by hand as you await your regular check to be printed.

Pay to the Order of

In this section, you will specify the recipient of the money from your checking account. Write the name of the entity or person you intend to pay or the payee. It is only the person whose name appears on the check is allowed to negotiate the check.

You can also pay the check to the order of “cash’’ if you decide not to include the recipient’s name. However, this is not secure as anyone cash the check; not just the one you intended.

Signature Line

This is found at the bottom right-hand corner of your check. However, you should not sign until you’ve reviewed all other information written on the check. Your signature gives your bank permission to pay the recipient.

Dollar Box

In this line, you’ll write the amount you intend to pay in numbers as opposed to writing it in words. The number in the dollar box cannot be used to determine the legal amount of the check. If the numerical amount does not match with the written amount, the written amount takes precedence.

Written Amount

In this part, you will write your amount in words as opposed to numbers. This is aimed to reduce confusion and also minimize fraud. It is difficult for someone to change your check if you’ve written the amount both in words and numbers.

Even if a person succeeds to tamper the numbers in the dollar box, they’ll have a hard time changing this section.

Check Number

This is your check number. Your check number helps you keep track of the checks you’ve written. It helps you in balancing your checkbook, and keep a record of the checks already approved and which await approval.

You’ll find this number on the upper right-hand corner and the far right at the bottom of your check.

Banking Information

All checks contain the name of your bank. This makes it easy for recipients to know who to contact in case they need any assistance. Some bank adds their telephone number and address while others include a logo only.

Other bank details are found elsewhere on the check.

For instance, you’ll find the routing number at the bottom of your check. Banks use this number when processing checks.

Account Number

Your account number is located at the bottom of your check. This number is printed in a unique way to make it easier for computers to detect it.

Many times a check will have three numbers at the bottom, and the one in the middle is your account number. But, checks can have different formats, and so you should confirm your account number before doing anything.