Writing a check to yourself is one way to withdraw money from your bank account or transfer funds from one account to another. While there are other, more high-tech methods for making these transactions, writing a check to yourself is an easy option.
But it’s not the best choice for every situation. Sometimes it’s more efficient to move funds electronically or visit an ATM to make a withdrawal. Here’s when writing a check to yourself makes sense, and how to do it.
How to Write a Check
If you don’t often use your checkbook you may be wondering: How do you write a check? First, be sure to use a pen (that way, the information can’t be erased) and choose blue or black ink. Then, for every check you write, fill in each of the following details:
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- The date
- Pay to the order of (the person or company the check is for)
- The amount the check is for in numbers
- The amount written out
- Memo (this is optional—you can use it to note what the check is for—or leave it blank)
- Your signature
How to Write a Check to Yourself
The only difference when you write a check to yourself, versus a check to someone else, is that you put your own name on the “Pay to the order of” line. Then, just like you do for every other check you write, you’ll add the date, the dollar amount written in numbers, the dollar amount written in words, an optional memo, and finally, your signature.
Be sure to record the amount the check is for in the check register that comes with your checks when you order them (you should keep this in your checkbook along with the checks themselves). In the register, write down the date, the check number, the name of the person the check is for and/or what it’s for, and the amount. This will help you balance your checkbook so you know how much money is in your account.
Why Would You Write a Check to Yourself?
Writing a check to yourself is the low-tech way of transferring money from one bank account to another, or withdrawing money from your bank account. Here is when it can make sense to write a check to yourself.
- Making a transfer. If you’re closing one bank account and opening another, you can move funds by writing a check to yourself. You can also write yourself a check to deposit funds from one account into another at the same bank. Or, if you have accounts at different banks, you can transfer money by writing yourself a check from one bank and depositing it in the other.
- Getting cash from your bank account. If you want to withdraw money from the bank, you can simply write yourself a check, take it to the teller at the bank, and cash it. Just be sure to endorse the check by signing it on the back.
Examples of When You Would Write a Check to Yourself
If you have money in different bank accounts and need to consolidate your funds in order to make a large purchase, you could write a check to yourself. For example, if you’re remodeling and need to transfer $20,000 from your home equity line of credit (in one institution) to your bank account (in a different institution), you can write a check to yourself to transfer the money.
When Writing a Check to Yourself Doesn’t Make Sense
Writing a check to yourself isn’t always the best, most efficient option for transferring funds or obtaining cash. Online banking, electronic transfers, and ATMs are typically faster and easier ways to get transactions done.
Transferring Money Within the Same Bank
For example, if you have two accounts at the same bank and you want to move money from one account to the other, it’s much quicker and more convenient to transfer your money through online banking. Writing yourself a check to do this is a hassle.
Getting cash out of your account
If you need to withdraw cash from your account, using an ATM can be faster and easier. If you write a check to yourself, you will need to visit the bank and go through a teller in order to cash the check and get your money. Just make sure to use an ATM within your bank’s network to help avoid ATM fees.
Risks and Concerns of Writing a Check to Yourself
When writing a check to yourself, never make the check out to “Cash.” Instead, always put your own name on the “Pay to the order of” line. This helps protect you. Otherwise, if a check is made out to “Cash,” and the check is lost or stolen, anyone can cash it.
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Other Ways to Move Your Money
There are several other ways to move money that are more convenient than writing a check to yourself This includes wire transfers, ACH transfers, electronic funds transfers, and electronic banking.
Often, when people use the term “wire transfer,” they’re referring to any electronic transfer of funds, but the technical definition involves an electronic transfer from one bank or credit union to another. To make a wire transfer, you’ll pay a fee, usually between $5 and $50 and need to provide the recipient’s bank account information.
ACH or Electronic Fund Transfer
An ACH is an electronic funds transfer across banks and credit unions. If you have direct deposit for your paychecks, for instance, that money is transferred to your bank account through ACH (which stands for Automated Clearing House). You can use ACH to transfer money from an account at one bank to an account at another. The transaction is often free, but check with your bank to make sure.
Online banking will allow you to move your money from one account to another within the same bank. All you need to do is log into your online account and use the “transfer” feature.
Writing a check to yourself is one way to transfer money or obtain cash, but there are many methods for doing these things that are often more convenient, such as online banking or electronic transfers. Exploring all the options can help you decide what makes the most sense for you.
This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.
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