Personal checks have always been one of the most popular forms of payment whether as third party payments or for point of sales transactions. Personal checks are convenient, easy to use and are very quick and fast in producing. However, with the recent changes and improvements in technology, this method of payment is slowly becoming unpopular.
What is a check anyway?
Generally, a check is a depositor’s written order to his or her bank, instructing the bank to make funds available to a person (or entity) who is either specified on the check or who physically bears it. Basically, it is an order from a bank to pay a certain amount of money to a specified person or entity.
A check can be referred to as a negotiable instrument in that it can be used to pay an individual, a group or a legal entity. The use of checks as a means to purchase goods and services can only be done by a depositor with a checking account. It is differently spelled as a check, cheque or checque. In the US, it is spelled as check whereas, in Commonwealth countries and Britain, it is spelled as a cheque.
A personal check is a check drawn from the personal account of a depositor or account holder. Anytime an account holder writes a personal check, he guarantees that there are enough funds in his bank account to pay the amount specified on the check. In a situation where the payee wants to withdraw the amount from the depositor’s bank or deposits the amount in his account and the depositor’s funds are insufficient, the check will bounce and the depositor will be subject to certain penalties depending on his bank.
An advantage of personal checks or any type of check, in general, is that it is convenient to use and that it protects the bearer against theft. In addition, they function as receipts after they have been allowed by the depositor’s bank and returned to him.
What is in a personal check?
A personal check typically contains certain information such as
• account number
• check number
• date of issue
• place of issue
• amount of currency in words and figures and
• the drawer’s signature
The parties involved
There are three parties involved in any transaction involving a personal check. These are;
• The drawer or maker – this is the depositor or the person writing the check
• The payee – this is the person or entity the amount specified on the check is to be paid to.
• The drawee – this is the bank or financial institution where the check can be handed over for payment.
How to cash a check
Whether you have a bank account or not, cashing a check should be simple for you if you adhere to the following precautions:
• Ensure the person who wrote you the check is trustworthy
• Make sure you know the person’s correct first and last name together with his contact information
• Never endorse the check unless you are ready to cash it
• Cash the check as soon as you can
There are several options available when cashing your check. They include
• Cashing at your bank
• Cashing with your bank teller –this is the easiest method where you go into the banking hall and tender your check. Always ensure you go along with a valid means of identification (e.g. driver’s license)
Depositing at the ATM of the bank
Most ATMs have a check deposit slot where you can insert your check and carry on with the process of depositing the money in your account. The only problem with this method is that the transaction takes time and the money cannot be withdrawn immediately.
Depositing using a mobile app
This involves downloading the bank’s mobile banking app and taking photos of the front and back part of the check, followed by your confirming the amount on the check. This is similar to depositing at the ATM only that you do not have to leave the house (but you have to leave the house when you want to withdraw the money deposited once the check is cleared).
• Cashing using other channels
• You can cash your check at the bank where the check is being cashed from.
• You can cash the check at a retailer for a minimum fee
• You can cash at a specialized check-cashing company
• You can sign the check over to someone you trust