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For those who may think, “why would I be writing a check to myself?”, you’re not alone.
After all, you own the money already, right?
While there are very few instances where you might actually find yourself writing yourself a check, there are some instances where this could be possible.
In this post, I’ll walk you through why you would write a check to yourself and how to go about doing it.
Plus I’ll share some other ways to get access to your money.
Table of Contents
How To Write A Check To Yourself
Why Write Yourself A Check?
One of the top scenarios where you might find yourself writing personal checks to yourself is when you want to transfer funds from one bank account to another that you’re opening at another financial institution.
This makes it easy for you to sit down with a representative from that bank, write a check to immediately deposit cash into your new bank account, and work on closing out the rest of the funds from your accounts.
Of course, if you’re in a pinch and you don’t happen to have any of your other necessary financial tools, you might also write a check to yourself if you need to cash out funds from your bank.
This was the norm back in the day before ATM cards.
Since you couldn’t visit a convenience store and get cash fast, you had to visit your bank and fill out a withdrawal slip to get your money.
Or you could make a check out to “Cash” or yourself and get your money this way.
However, making a check out to cash can put you at risk should someone else get their hands on your check and decide to take the cash for themselves.
You might write a check to yourself in the future, but you should always consider alternatives before you decide to write a check as the alternatives are often easier or safer.
How Do I Write A Check To Myself?
The good news about writing a check to yourself is that it’s the same as writing a check to someone else.
Here are the steps to follow.
- Enter the current date on the check
- Make the check out to “cash” or write your name
- Write the numerical dollar amount in the box
- Spell out the check amount in the section below the recipient’s name
- Sign on the signature line
- Enter something in the memo section or leave the memo line blank
You will also sign the back of the check too.
Then you can deposit it in your new account or cash it.
If you’re writing a check to cash, make sure that you take the necessary precautions so that your check is secure until you can cash it.
Is It Legal To Write A Check To Myself?
I’m writing a check to myself. Is this legal?
This is a common question.
The good news?
There’s absolutely nothing illegal about doing this.
It’s your money, and just like any other financial tool, you can use it to transfer funds or access your cash.
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However, there is an exception that most people are aware of.
Under no condition should you write a check to yourself knowing that there aren’t any funds in your account.
Whether or not you intend to cash out when there’s no money in your bank, this is known as check kiting and it is a fraudulent activity that will land you in hot water with the law.
If you do this unintentionally, make sure to reach out to your bank to remedy this situation immediately.
They will be far more understanding if you explain the situation to them and do what’s necessary to pay back the funds that were disbursed.
Where To Cash A Personal Check Made Out To Cash?
The final question you might have is, where are the places you can cash your check if made out to yourself?
The most obvious answer is your own bank or credit union.
But you can also cash these checks most any place that accepts personal checks.
For example, you can go to grocery stores and cash your check at the customer service desk.
Before you try this, it’s a good idea to call ahead.
This is because the merchant might require verification of who you are.
They may ask to see a photo ID and even write your driver’s license number on the check.
Or they might ask to see your Social Security Number.
These are all done to limit the chance of fraud.
Things To Remember
As easy as it is to write yourself a check, you can create headaches just as easily.
For starters, make sure you record the paper checks to yourself in your check register.
Not recording them can create a lot of confusion quickly, especially if you have a joint bank account and both people write checks.
Next, make sure you review your checking account so you know you have the right amount of money to cover the check.
The last thing you want is to be hit with insufficient funds and have to pay fees.
Alternatives To Writing Yourself A Check
Whether you need some cash or you’re looking to close a bank account, writing a check to yourself might be the last thing you end up considering.
This is due to the fact that there are so many other electronic tools to transfer or withdraw money that can often be simpler and take less time.
But exactly which alternative way might you want to consider?
Here are a few options to consider.
#1. Move Your Funds to Another Account
Let’s imagine that you’re opening up another account at your bank.
While writing a check might seem like a good way to move funds, you generally don’t need to go through the effort.
Banks make it easy for you to electronically send funds from one account to another so that you can easily save or spend money as you need to.
In fact, the transfer is immediate, making it faster than the entire check writing process.
#2. ACH Transfers
ACH transfers are an easy way to transfer funds from one account to another account at another bank without incurring fees or taking the time to write a check to yourself.
All you need to do is make sure that both banks allow for this and that you have all the necessary information to make the transaction.
In mast cases, you will simply need the routing number of the banks, you account number, and the name on the account.
The downside of an ACH transfer is that it can take couple business days to complete.
#3. Wire Transfers
Are you looking to get your money sooner or are you looking to make larger transfers?
Are you willing to pay to make it happen?
If you answered yes to both of these questions, you may want to consider wire transfers.
Wire transfers are like ACH transfers except they are generally processed the same day, meaning that you see your money much sooner than you would with ACH transfers.
Wire transfers do require you to pay a fee to send your money to another account.
Usually this fee is around $25 and is only charged on the outgoing wire, not the incoming wire.
In other words, you would pay $25 to send the wire, but would not have to pay to receive it.
#4. Online Payment Services
Whether it’s Zelle or PayPal, transferring your money using one of these user-friendly apps is another alternative.
It’s not the best alternative as this can be time-consuming and complex, but it is an alternative that’s there if you wish to use it.
It can always be helpful to learn more about the platform you want to use and see if there are any guides online that will help you make the process seamless.
#5. Using Your Debit Card
If the only reason you are thinking of writing a check to yourself is so you can have a little spending money, then a better option is to use your debit card at the store.
Obviously, the best way to do this is to withdraw money at a local ATM using your debit card.
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If you’re at the grocery store, you can even get cash using your debit card so that you have a bit of pocket money you need for something.
Don’t have your card? See if you can access it using your digital wallets.
It is perfectly legal and acceptable to write a check to yourself.
This was common practice before we had so many options for accessing the money in our bank accounts.
While the chances are slim these days that you would need to write out a check to yourself, know that it can be done and there is nothing wrong with doing so.
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I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.