April 13, 2024

How to write a cheque and protect against fraud

For many people, writing a cheque isn’t the first port of call when it comes to making a payment any more – but hundreds of millions of cheques are still written every year.

The most recent data shows that in 2022, 129 million cheques were written. That’s despite numbers being in steady decline for years. 

Despite their waning popularity, cheques are still attracting the attention of fraudsters. Reported cases of cheque fraud were up 35pc between 2022 and 2023, according to figures from trade body UK Finance.

Here, Telegraph Money explains how to write a cheque in the most secure way possible, and what to do if your payment is intercepted by a criminal.

1. Write the date

Usually, you’ll write the date you’re writing the cheque but there might be instances where you want to post-date it – where you’ll write a date in the future. 

Doing this will prevent the recipient from cashing the cheque until that date – you might choose to do this if you’re waiting until payday, for example. 

2. Add the name of the payee

This might sound simple, but you need to make sure your spelling is correct – if the cheque is for an individual, it’s better to write out their full name. If it’s for a business, find out what the exact name is – for example, you might not refer to it as having “Ltd” as part of the business’s name, but you’ll need to include it on the cheque.

3. Add the cheque amount in numbers

The box on the right is where you add the numerical value of the cheque. You don’t need to write a pound sign, as that is already printed on the cheque. Instead, write the first number close to the printed pound sign (to prevent anyone squeezing in an extra digit), and be sure to check there is a clear separation between the pounds and pence values. Fill any extra space with a dash.

4. Write the amount in words

Under the payee name, write the cheque’s value in words, specifying pounds and pence, followed by the word “only”. Then fill any remaining space with a dash to prevent anyone adding extra amounts.

5. Sign the cheque

There’s a space for your signature, which must be filled out otherwise the cheque will be considered void. The signature must match the one on record with your bank.

6. Compose a memo

The memo stub is the part that’s left behind when you tear a cheque out of a chequebook. Here, you should make a note of how much the cheque was for, its date and the payee.

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