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Anatomy of a Check

  • A check is a "payable on demand item" which means it is negotiable as soon as it is written. Checks cannot be post dated (written for a future date).
  • Stale Date
    • A check is stale dated six months after it is written (the negotiable date on the check). Stale dated checks will be returned by the bank as "non-negotiable - stale dated."

Anatomy of a Check
Anatomy of a Check

  1. Date - the date the check is written (cannot be a future date);
  2. Maker - person/business who writes the check - the name will be printed on the check;
  3. Payee - person/business to whom the check is written;
  4. Signature line or lines - two or more signatures can be required on a check;
  5. Written amount - the amount written in numbers;
  6. Legal amount - the amount written in words;
  7. Check number - which is printed on the check and appears in the MICR line on the bottom of the check;
  8. Banking information - both the name of the bank and the American Banking Association number appear on the check;
  9. Account and routing numbers - appear on the bottom of the check in MICR line. The routing (ABA) number is always 9 digits long, and is always between a line and a colon(|:xxxxxxxxx|:).