How to write a cheque

by from, Last Updated: 15 April 2015

Writing a cheque is becoming a dying art but still one you need to master. So whether it is to pay bill or for a friend's birthday, here is how to write a cheque.

Cheque writing hand pen

Cheques are being phased out in the UK, but there is still the odd occasion where you might need to dust off your cheque book to make a payment.

If you do not do it often it can be easy to make a mistake that makes your cheque unusable.

Here is how to write a cheque:

What you need:

When you write a cheque this is the information you will need to include:

  • Payee name (the person you are paying)
  • Date
  • Amount in words
  • Amount in numbers
  • Your signature

Payee name

You need to write the payee name as it appears on the person you are paying's bank account.

If you are making the cheque out to an individual you will need to use their full name, for example 'Martin Lane' or 'M Lane'.

If you put a cheque in joint names, then it will have to be paid into a joint bank account.

If you are paying a company you should check exactly how you should write their business's name on the cheque - this information is likely to be on your bill, statement or invoice.


The date will usually be the day you are writing the cheque and needs to include the day, month and year.

You can pre date your cheque by writing a date in the future, this will prevent the recipient from cashing it until that date.

Amount in words

When you write the amount in words you need to write the amount in full, followed by the word ONLY - this is to stop anyone amending the amount written on your cheque.

For example 56.23 would be written as: Fifty Six Pounds and Twenty Three Pence Only.

It is also common practice to draw a line through the rest of the amount box after the word ONLY.

Amount in numbers

This should be entered in the small box on the right hand side, must match the amount in words and should include pounds and pence.

You have to write the amount in both letters and numbers for your cheque to be valid.


Finally you will need to sign your cheque in the space in the bottom right hand corner, this signature must match the signature on record with your bank, or your cheque will bounce.

So what happens after you have written your cheque and given it to the payee? Read our guide, How Does Cheque Clearing Work? to find out.

It is always worth checking that you have the right current account for you, especially as now you can switch your current account in just 7 days. Take a look at the best current accounts on the market to find the one that is right for you.


I thought you were joking when you put this posting on Martin. Surely the majority of people know how to write a cheque. Mind you aren't they going to phase them out before too long. What a mummy state we live in now.

by Sabre, 24 May 2012

You'd be surprised Sabre! When I was working at a bank we had lots of cheques come through that we couldn't cash for one reason or another! I think that because people so rarely use them sometimes they need a reminder these days!

by Martin from, 25 May 2012

Yes I thought about it again Martin. I suppose when you have trained people to make cheques out correctly it becomes old hat to you and I realise not everyone knows how to do it. Customer's often don't realise problems on their cheques also. One day I had a lady who signed her cheque and when I looked at it I had to tell her that the Bank had put someone else's name on the cheques, by mistake. Unbelievably she had been using the cheque book as usual so someone else had her name on their cheques but no one had noticed. In those days people signed their cheque in front of you and one night I wasn't quite happy with the signature and asked the lady to put her address on the back. When she wrote it I immediately knew it must be a stolen one as she had put an address near where I lived and put *** Close and I knew it was Street. I asked her to wait a moment but when I turned round she had scarpered. I found out later that evening that the bag had been stolen that day.

In the day's of checking visas etc. I checked three on one day and they were all stolen. I received a nice sum of money from the Company for vigilance.

by Sabre, 25 May 2012

Well done Sabre! You really have to be on the ball to spot things like that.

I once had to ask a fraudster to take a seat (while we rang the police) and then point him out to them when they turned up about 10 minutes later! He was none the wiser until it was too late thankfully!

by Martin from, 25 May 2012

I always used to check there are 5 entries when collecting cheques, but even so it was easy to miss a mistake, £ do not = words for example. Now retired, we prefer cash.

by greydo, 29 May 2012

I have in the past received a cheque back for not signing it...I have to own up to this.Martin,was you my bank manager?

by rosetta, 29 May 2012

Sabre ,I once picked up a cheque book quickly wrote out the cheque to pay the bill...Later found out when checking my statement,payment had not been stopped ...I checked the cheque book .I had used my husbands cheque book and the bank paid out .My husband is still none the wiser.I spose I can be arrested but it did happen over 7 years am I safe?

by rosetta, 29 May 2012

wrote 60 k oo chqs toll the hmrc .what happened ////nothing

by ukbiz, 6 Jun 2012

For some services payment by cheque is the only acceptable payment method ie Disabled badge renewal and disabled bus pass.

by Noddy1, 29 May 2012

Strange thing I saw on the B.B.C news that they were saying France do not use cheques now...that was a grande mistake...most french women still uses cheques in the supermarket ,the supermarket have special printers that print the sum we have spent we then check the sum and sign.The French are still not into credit and debit cards like we are in the U.K. the men use cheques in restaurants too.the cheque book is always in their pocket.So thanks Martin ....I love my cheque book.In France my French friends sometimes like to pay some bills by cheque rather than Direct Debit/Standing Order....

by rosetta, 29 May 2012

it is also allowable to write on the back of the cheque extra info ex. The reason the cheque was paid to case of the need to trace cheque within the bank.

by rosetta, 29 May 2012

A good few years ago (mid 1980s) I realised that my mother had picked up my chequebook by mistake (similar - though not identical initials, and the book had been delivered to her home - I was a student at the time). We only realised when one shopkeeper questioned her as the name didn't match the cheque guarantee card (remember them?!). Mum was incredibly embarassed, although not as much as the bank - I phoned them to warn them of the mistake and the amounts of the cheques, and they had already cleared two of them...

Wrong signature - incorrect guarantee card number on the back... It seems actually that banks only got picky with cheques if they wanted to bounce them... the fact that it HAD a signature seemed to be enough - words and figures balanced, and I guess they would never look at the back of the cheque unless there were a problem

by afrance, 3 Jul 2012

Disgraceful for not noticing the mistakes afrance.

by Sabre, 3 Jul 2012

closed chque how to cancelling close

by madushan, 1 Nov 2012
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