The purpose of this page is to clarify any questions that you may have about check formats, security, and balancing your checkbook.

check formats

Check Gallery offers these popular check formats online:

Single/Wallet Checks


single/wallet checks Top-bound, single-part checks in a standard single/wallet format. This check format includes a full-size register and can be ordered in 2 or more box quantities.

Duplicate/Wallet Checks


duplicate/wallet checks Top-bound checks with carbonless duplicates for instant copies and fast, easy record keeping. This check format includes a full-size register and can be ordered in 2 or more box quantities.

How to balance your checkbook

Balancing your checkbook can give you a firm knowledge
of how much money is in your account. It can help you prevent bouncing checks, make up a simple budget, and detect any errors.

Balancing your checkbook

Balance Your Checkbook with 8 Simple Steps

    1. The first step in balancing your checkbook is to keep a check register.
    Write down all transactions, not just checks.

  • Many checking accounts come with a simple check register in which to record transactions.
  • If you do not have one, you can buy or make one. Even a blank sheet of lined paper will do.

    2. Find out your current balance

    on the account you wish to track. You can get this from a bank statement, ATM ticket, or by phoning or visiting the bank (which may carry a fee). Write this balance in the box at the top of the page or on the empty first line with a note such as "balance forward."

    Find out your account balance
  • Remember that there may be checks or electronic debits that haven't cleared yet, so today's figure, while correct, could be missing part of the story. Keep an eye on your account and check the balance regularly. Also, read your next statement carefully when it arrives and incorporate any transactions you may have missed.

    3. Record all transactions.

  • Record all checks that you write. Write down the check number, the date, the payee (who you write the check to), and the amount of the check.
Record all transactions
  • Record any withdrawals or payments you make from that account. If you withdraw money from the bank or ATM, or if you purchase something using an ATM or debit card, write down the amount of the purchase as well as any ATM/Debit card fees.
  • Record any bills you pay online. If your online bill payment service gives you a confirmation code, you may wish to jot this code in your check register alongside the payee information.
  • Record any deposits or transfers of money to subtract or add to the account balance, as applicable.
Record any deposits or transfers

    4. Regularly recalculate the balance

    Regularly recalculate the balance in your checkbook. You can do this for each transaction. Or you can do this less frequently, such as when you sit down to do bills. If you have a history of bounced checks, you should do this at every transaction or every other transaction.

  • Subtract the amount of any expense, payment, check, or withdrawal from the total.
  • Subtract any transfer out of the account.
  • Add the amount of any deposit, credit, or transfer into the account to the total.

5. Write the new balance after each transaction in the far right column.

    6. Balance your checkbook when your statement arrives.

    Balance your checkbook when your statement arrives
  • Add any interest that the bank has paid you.
  • Subtract any fees that the bank has charged you.
  • Verify that the transactions in your account register match what the bank statement indicates.

    7. Correct mistakes.

    If you find any discrepancies between your numbers and your bank's numbers, figure out where they came from.

  • Check your math. Make sure you added and subtracted everything correctly.
  • Look for missing transactions. Did you forget to write something down?
  • Subtract the balance in your check register from the balance on the statement. Does the amount match the amount of one of the transactions? If so, that transaction probably has not been accounted for.
  • Find out if all your checks have cleared. The money taken out for checks and certain other payments may not be taken out immediately. If you think a check or other payment has not yet cleared, subtract the amount of that check from the bank's balance and see if it matches yours. One way to stay on top of this is to check your account regularly and put check marks next to every check that has already cleared.
  • If you find errors, bring them to the attention of your bank. Often, a phone call or visit can clear up confusion about errors or inappropriate fees.

8. Finish balancing your checkbook.

Once everything is balanced in your checkbook, you may want to draw double lines under the balanced amount in your check register. That way, the next time you balance your account, you have an idea of the last known correct amount in your register. This helps figure out where an error is in the check register the next time you balance your checkbook.

    Helpful Tips

  • You may wish to use two lines for each transaction so that you have additional space to write. Whichever method you choose, be consistent.
  • If you have two or more people making payments from the same account, touch base with each other as often as possible so you can each record the payments in your individual checkbooks.
  • Balancing your checkbook is an excellent opportunity to total up the amount of money you spend each month and look for ways that you could save money next month.
  • Keep a separate register for each account you wish to track.
  • Try to save up a "cash cushion," some minimum amount of money that you save in case of emergencies. Then, try not to let your balance drop below this point.
  • For many accounts, maintaining a specified minimum balance can help you avoid account fees. Some banks also waive fees if you have direct deposit of your paycheck. Read the fine print and ask your bank if you're not sure about the fees they charge.
  • For better record keeping, you should know the bank's clearing schedule. Local checks and non-local checks clear differently. Most local checks clear in two business days AFTER the day of the deposit. Most non-local checks clear five days after the day of the deposit. Knowing when the funds are available to withdraw will help prevent overdrawing your account.

Check security

To minimize the risk of fraud, Check Gallery incorporates proven check security features. These security features help deter alteration and enable authentication. Your checks security features may include:


Check security features Check security features

EZShield Protection

Protect yourself against check fraud with EZShield, your simple solution for ensuring your checks are safe and secure (additional fees may apply).

Micro Printing

Micro printing is a line of type normally too small to photocopy clearly. This security feature helps prevent check fraud.

Security Screen

Security screens are words printed lightly on the checks to make them more difficult to duplicate. A word such as "Original Document" printed on a check is an example of a security screen.

Padlock Icon

This symbol indicates that security features present in the check are described in the Warning Box on the back.

Added Fraud Deterrents

Securiguard designs incorporate a reflective hologram that cannot be removed and prevents reproduction. This is additional step to ensure check security.

Check features

Monogram or Symbol
An optional monogram or decorative symbol is available on some check designs.
Personalization
The area for printing up to 5 lines of your personal information, including name(s), address, and optional information such as your phone number.
Fraction
Fractional number which identifies your bank.
Check Number
This sequential number, printed in two locations, allows you to keep track of
the checks you write.
Dollar Box
Area to write the numeric amount of the check.
Padlock Icon
This icon references security features that have been incorporated to help your financial institution detect attempts at fraud. The features are detailed on the back of each check.
Bank Information
Your bank's information must be printed on your checks, which may include the bank's name, address, city, state, and zip. Verify this information with your bank.
Over Signature Area
This area is designated for an optional personal message. Some check designs incorporate their own message in this area.
Signature Line
This is the area where an account owner signs the check to authorize its use.
Routing Number
This 9-digit number identifies your bank. The number starts with 0, 1, 2, or 3.

Check Personalization

Our check personalization feature provides five lines for your information on your personal checks. You may include your name, spouse's name, address, and optional information such as your phone number. For security reasons, Check Gallery recommends that you avoid from including your driver's license number on your checks. For your protection and due to laws in several states, printing social security numbers on any material to be delivered by mail is no longer permitted. The typestyle you selected for your personalized information is another check feature provided to our customers.

Bank Information

Your bank's name must appear on your checks, but your bank's address is optional. Check Gallery stays current with all changes taking place in the financial industry. If your financial institution information changes, we update our system automatically to ensure your checks are printed correctly.

Symbol / Monogram

An optional symbol / monogram may be chosen to accent the look of many check designs. This check feature appears in the upper left-hand corner.

Over Signature Text Area

The over-signature line adds extra character to your checks and is printed above the signature line. This check feature is available on many check designs.

Bank Routing Number

The first number in the MICR line at the bottom of your check features your bank's routing number. It is 9 digits long and always starts with 0, 1, 2 or 3.

Bank Account Number

Your bank account number may appear before or after your check number in your check's MICR line.

Check Number

The sequential number for your checks appears in both the MICR line at the bottom of your checks and the upper right corner of your checks. This number allows you to keep track of the checks you write.

Signature Line

The account owner endorses the signature line on the bottom of a personal check to authorize its use.

Your Check's "Pay To" Line

The "Pay To" line is where you identify the person/business to whom the check is written.

Dollars Box

The "Dollars" box is where you write the numeric amount of the check. It is written out additionally on the amount line (see below), which is below the "Pay To" line on the check.

Amount Line

This line is featured next to the dollars box. It is provided for you to write out the amount of your check.

Fraction

The fraction on your check is used to identify your bank.