Money and Finance
Money and Finance
How to Manage a Checkbook
When you open a checking account with a bank, one important item that comes along with the checking account is the checkbook. The checkbook contains checks, deposit slips, and the checkbook register.
Getting a Checkbook
Usually when you open a checking account, the person from the bank helping you will give you a checkbook. This checkbook will often contain some new checks. You can order more checks from the bank or from a company that prints checks. Checks come in all sorts of designs. You can order checks with different backgrounds such as your favorite sports team, animals, or the beach.
Inside a checkbook is the register. This is where you record events in your checking account such as checks you've written, cash withdrawals, and deposits. It's very important to write down every transaction so you know exactly how much money you have in the bank. If you miss a transaction you could end up writing a check for more money than you have in the bank. This can cause the bank to fine you.
Filling Out the Register
Each checkbook register may be slightly different, but most of them have the same general information. Here is an example of a register:
Balancing your Checkbook
Each month you should get a statement from the bank. It's a good idea to make sure that your checkbook registry and the bank statement match up. This is called balancing your checkbook. If there are any discrepancies be sure to go through each item and make sure that you added up everything correctly.
Inside the checkbook you will also have some deposit slips. These can be used to put money in the bank. You can fill this out ahead of time before you go to the bank to help make your trip to the bank faster. If you don't have any deposit slips, there are usually some at the bank you can use, but they aren't pre-printed with your account information like the ones in your checkbook.
What happens to a check I write?
Stores and banks can process checks very quickly. Sometimes the money may be out of your account the same day you write a check. At the end of the day, the store sends the checks to the local bank. The value of the check is encoded into numbers at the bottom of the check. Then the check is run through a very fast reader/sorter machine. This information is then sent electronically to the Federal Reserve clearinghouse. From there your bank sees the check and pays the amount to the store. Sometime after this the check is shredded.
Interesting Facts About Checks and Checkbooks
- The value of a check is written in numbers and words on the check. If the two amounts are different, the teller will go by the words.
- Today many people use online checking or a computer program for their checkbook register.
- The use of paper checks is rapidly declining. In the year 2000, paper checks were used in around 40 billion transactions in the United States. However, in the year 2012, the number dropped to under 20 billion. That's still a lot of checks, though!
- In 2013, the U.S. government stopped paying Social Security with paper checks and now only pays with direct deposit or debit cards.
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Note: This information is not to be used for individual legal, tax, or investment advice. You should always contact a professional financial or tax advisor before making financial decisions.
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