How to Write Cents on a Check

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Write a Check with Dollars and Cents

CheckWithCents.jpg
Sample check. See below for an explanation. Justin Pritchard

Sometimes it’s the small things that get you: you might know how to write a check, but you get stuck writing out the amount. Writing a check with cents is especially tricky, but with a little bit of practice you’ll soon be able to do it without thinking.

Example

For example, assume you need to write a check for eight dollars and fifteen cents (that’s $8.15). There are two steps:

  1. Write the amount using numbers (at the orange number 1 in the picture above)
  2. Write the amount using words (at the orange number 2 in the picture above)

You’ll write the amount using numbers in the dollar box (the box on the right side of your check next to the dollar bill sign – “$”). Start by writing the number of dollars (8), then a decimal point or period (“.”), and then the number of cents (15). Ultimately, you’ll have “8.15” in the dollar box. If you want more examples, scroll down.

Now, for writing out the check’s amount in words, there are two steps:

  1. Write out the dollar amount
  2. Write out the cents

The tricky part of this is putting the number of cents into fraction format (the number of cents over 100). In other words, write the number of cents, then write a slash (“/”), and then write the number 100.

Using our $8.15 example, write the following:

  • “Eight dollars and”
  • “15/100”

Write this all together on one line so that it reads “Eight dollars and 15/100”. For a detailed example of how to write a check, see a step-by-step tutorial using the same amount.

Now, let’s look at that example in more detail.

No “cents”: you might notice that the word “cents” doesn’t appear anywhere – you don’t need to use it when writing a check. It is sufficient to simply put the number of cents into the format above. If you want, you can certainly write “fifteen cents,” but it’s easier and faster to use the fraction format. Plus, your check probably has the word “Dollars” at the end of the line, so it would look odd.

The word “and”: put the word “and” just before you write how many cents the check is for (or just after you write out the full dollar amount). You are writing a check for dollars and cents. If you like, you can use an ampersand (“&”) or plus sign (“+”) instead. It is best not to use the word “and” elsewhere when you write out the amount. For example, you should remove “and” from the following: “One hundred and five dollars.”

Percentages

It might help to think in terms of percentages: the word percent comes from a Latin term that roughly translates to “per 100.” That’s why cents are called “cents” – each one is one percent of a dollar. Another way of looking at it is to consider that each cent is one one-hundredth of a dollar. When you write a check, you note how many dollars the check is for (that includes whole dollars, as well as partial dollars – or cents).

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More Examples

Multiple choice test answer sheet
Quiz time! Try a few more to solidify the concept. Richard Goerg / Getty Images

It might help to look at a few more examples, so let’s try different dollar amounts.

Example: write ten dollars and 99 cents on a check:

  1. 10.99
  2. Ten and 99/100

Example: write eleven dollars and five cents on a check

  1. 11.05
  2. Eleven and 5/100

Example: write a check for five dollars

  1. 5.00 (note the double zero – you should always have two digits to the right of the decimal)
  2. Five and 00/100 (here you can use one or two zeros, but two is safer)

Example: write seventy five cents on a check

  1. 0.75
  2. Zero dollars and 75/100

You might have noticed that the last example was for less than a dollar. To write a check for less than a full dollar, use a zero to show that there aren’t any dollars – and then put the number of cents after, just like all of the other examples. You can also write “No dollars and….” if you prefer.

The same is true in the example for five dollars: just write a zero (or double zero) if there isn’t any other number to use. Some people would write that amount out as “Five dollars only,” which is also fine.

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Don't Write Checks

USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Businesswoman using tablet pc
There are easier ways to pay, and they're often free. Tetra Images / Getty Images

Want to make your life even easier? Use fewer checks – or at least have a computer write your checks for you.

Online bill payment allows you to set up automatic payments or just pay when you feel like it. Your bank will print a check and mail it (or the bank will pay electronically).

Debit cards (or preferably credit cards) can be used at merchants and online retailers.

P2P payment services help you send money to friends and family, often for free.