Even though cheque use is declining in Canada, there are still a BILLION cheques written in Canada each year, according to Payments Canada. Since I am a geriatric millennial, I know how to write cheques. In fact, I write a cheque to myself at least every month to deposit cash into our high interest savings joint bank account. I love using cheques, you’re welcome to call me old fashioned. It may be a shock for some of you that some people in Canada have never written a cheque before, but here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write a cheque in Canada.
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How to Write a Canadian Cheque
Before you start writing, make sure you have a ball point pen. You can’t write a cheque in Canada with a highlighter or a pencil. 😉
If you have big bank cheques, the process on how to write a cheque TD, how to write a cheque with CIBC, Scotiabank, and BMO are all the same.
Write the Date
Write the date of your cheque in the upper right hand corner.
If you write it ahead of time (e.g. for the future) the person depositing the cheque won’t be able to deposit until that date.
An example of this are post-dated cheques for rent paid to a landlord. Post-dated cheques are cheques where you write the cheque with dates written for ahead of time so that your landlord can keep them until he or she is able to deposit them (e.g. on the first day of the month).
Write the Amount (in words)
Write the amount in words on the cheque.
According to Canadian Payments, technically writing the amount in words is not legally necessary but it serves as an easy way to verify the numerical amount.
This is written in the body of the cheque underneath who you write the cheque out to.
Write the Numerical Amount
Next, you have to write the numerical amount for the cheque.
This should correlate with the amount that is written in words to avoid issues cashing and depositing the cheque.
Write the Recipient of the Cheque
After that, you can write the recipient of the cheque, make sure it’s clear and legible otherwise the recipient may have trouble cashing in the cheque.
Don’t leave this part blank because that can be dangerous, someone could just write their own name if they get their hands on your blank cheque with your signature.
Where to Sign a Cheque
Finally, the last step on how to write a cheque in Canada: You would sign your name in the bottom right hand corner of the cheque.
Don’t forget to sign your name, if you don’t the recipient will have trouble cashing it.
Also don’t have blank cheques with your signature (or don’t pre-sign your cheques), you’re asking for trouble if you do that!
FILL IN The MEMO SECTION of Cheque
This is optional, but if you like to fill out the Memo section to say what the personal cheque is for, you can. Personally I like to do this so that it aids in my record keeping.
Here’s how to write a cheque in Canada for rent as an example, all put together. Make sure you remember to sign your name!
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That’s pretty much how to write a cheque in Canada.
Here are some things to keep in mind during or after you write the cheque.
- How to write a cheque with cents
- if you make a mistake writing the cheque
- Keeping a record of the cheque
- How to get free personal cheques in Canada
- How to get cheap personal cheques in Canada
- How to deposit a cheque
How to Write a Cheque with Cents
It might be confusing at first when you write a cheque that has cents.
How I usually do it is I put a line behind the dollar amount and put the numerical value in cents above the line.
You could also write out in words the cents. For example, for $1000.52, you would write “one thousand dollars and fifty two cents”.
You would also need to make sure you write the cents in the numerical part of the cheque so that it correlates with the words written.
If You Make a Mistake Writing The Cheque
How do you fix a mistake on a cheque?
I make mistakes all the time when I am writing cheques, but the cheques are still processed without issues.
All you need to do is cross out your mistake with ONE line, and write your initials beside the mistake.
Then you write down the correction (correct number or correct writing of the number) beside your mistake.
Keeping a Record of the Cheque
There are two ways to keep a record of your cheque. One is more laborious than the other.
Some online banking providers, for example, TD bank, provides a picture of the cheque that has been deposited which includes the number of the cheque, so you have a ‘paper trail’ of your cheque deposit in your online banking account.
Alternatively, you can also keep a record for yourself. At the back of the cheque book you’ll see a record.
You can input the number of the cheque (which is found on the top right hand corner of the cheque), the date you wrote the cheque, the amount of the cheque, and a quick description of the reason.
How to Get Free Personal Cheques in Canada
Now that we figured out how easy it is to write personal cheques in Canada, how do you get free personal cheques in Canada?
There are a number of banks that will provide you with personal cheques in Canada for free if you have a no fee chequing account with them.
Here are a few of the banks that will provide you with personal cheques in Canada:
- Tangerine Bank also gives you your first 50 cheques for free when you sign up for their bank account. After that, it is $50 for 50 cheques. Here’s my review of the Tangerine Savings Account.
- The Scotiabank Ultimate account gives you a book of 100 free personal cheques each year. The monthly fee of $30.95/month is waived if you have a minimum of $5000 in your Scotiabank Ultimate account or over $30,000 across the Ultimate chequing account and the Scotiabank Momentum Plus savings account.
- Simplii Financial has a No Fee Chequing Account with unlimited personal cheques.
- Motive Financial has a chequing account called Cha-Ching Chequing Account where you can get 50 free cheques that are personalized delivered to you. Just make sure you have sufficient funds in your chequing account because I’ve had to pay insufficient funds fees + high interest multiple times when I forgot to transfer money from my Savvy Savings Account to the Chequing Account.
- Most of the big banks (like TD, BMO for example) actually will provide you free personal cheques with their more premium chequing accounts (which either cost you considerable banking fees per month that will add up or you have to have a minimum amount to have the fee waived)
- If you have private banking they will likely provide you with free personal cheques too.
How to Get Cheap Personal Cheques in Canada
Alternately if you want to stick with your big bank and not open up a new bank account solely for free personal cheques, you can get cheap personal cheques in Canada by… ordering them yourself!
It may seem like a big surprise to you, that you don’t have to order it directly from your big Canadian bank and pay $1 per cheque. In fact, most of the banks outsource their cheque production to one company anyway, D&H Cheques (David and Henderson cheques).
In addition, you don’t have to order your cheques from D&H Cheques either!
In Canada, you can get your personal cheques independently as long as the personal cheque meets the CPA (Canadian Payments Association) requirements for MICR and cheque imaging.
To comply with Standard 006, your bank account information should be in magnetic ink at the bottom of your cheques.
This means that you can just order cheques online, there are number of cheque providers in Canada that can do this for you and mail you out your cheaper cheques (for much cheaper than $1 a cheque).
Here’s more information on how to save money on personal cheques in Canada.
Instead of Paying by Cheque You Can
Also, if you don’t want to write cheques, there are other ways to pay someone.
Use Interac e-Transfer. Most banks now support this option. In the past it used to cost $2.50 or $3.00 per e-Transfer but most big banks and online banks are providing this service fo free now.
For example, EQ Savings Plus Account (a savings and chequing hybrid account) that offers a very competitive savings account interest rate recently added this feature of Interact e-Transfer for free.
What if you don’t want to pay by cheque and you also don’t want to pay by Interact e-Transfer?
Another alternative to Interact e-Transfer is to do a Direct Deposit (Automatic Payments). This can be set up easily if you know your account number, transit number, and institution number of your bank.
How to Deposit a Cheque
You can deposit a cheque the old fashioned way by taking it to the bank teller to deposit it and they can stamp the back for you.
Usually this does not cost money if your banking plan is skimpy or basic, since this is a deposit and not a withdrawal if you have a brick and mortar bank.
The other way that you can use mobile banking to deposit a cheque.
You can now deposit a cheque (in recent years) is to deposit the cheque by taking a picture while logged into your online banking portal through your mobile application/ mobile banking app.
Obviously, you’ll need a smart phone for this (a phone with a camera and apps that you can install).
Basically you just log in, click on “Deposit a Cheque” while you are in mobile banking, and then the phone will tell you what to do next. Basically you take a picture of the front of the cheque (the phone will automatically take pictures for you) and of the back of the cheque.
Keep the cheque that you just ‘deposited’ for the recommended number of days (usually 7 days) in case there are issues, and then you’re good to go and you’ll see your bank account reflect the new balance.
Hopefully this helps you with how to write a cheque in Canada!
Do you use cheques in Canada?
Do you prefer Interac e-Transfer or writing a cheque?
GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.
2 thoughts on “How to Write a Cheque in Canada (A STEP-bY-STEP Guide)”
As a baby boomer I had a chuckle when I read your article. Then I thought about it and realize what a good service you are providing to the younger generation. I went into a Bell store about a year ago to get my automatic cheque payment details updated and the the young man I spoke to didn’t understand cheques.
@VLW- Hah, I know, it’s something we as older people take for granted! I try to appease all ages with my content, haha!