document that orders a bank to pay a specific amount of money

A cheque (or check) is a paper used to give money from one person or business to another person or business. To the person getting the cheque, it is a paper that allows them to go to a bank and get money. To the person writing the cheque, it is a promise to pay the bank that is giving the money to the person who turned the cheque in.

An example cheque made out to "John Doe" in the amount of $212.

Cheques must be written to a person or business. A cheque that is not written to anyone can be very bad because if it is lost, anyone who finds it can get the money. A cheque that is written to a person but does not have the amount of money written is a blank cheque.

Cheques have been used since over a thousand years ago. However, they became popular in the 20th century for paying money without using cash.

Parts of a cheque change

The four main parts of a cheque are:

  • Drawer, the person who makes the cheque
  • Payee, the person who gets the money
  • Drawee, the bank that pays the money for the cheque
  • Amount, the amount that has to be paid

When more people started to use cheques, more things were added to make them more secure and easy to track. They started to require the drawer's signature to be confirmed. The signature on a cheque is the main way to tell if a cheque is real. Cheques also started to need the amount written in words and numbers. This made it harder to make mistakes and harder to change the cheque after it was already written.

Issue dates have also been added to cheques. A cheque is invalid if a long time has passed since the issue date. A cheque with an issue date in the past is called an antedated cheque. A cheque with an issue date in the future is called a post-dated cheque. Usually, a person cannot get money from a post-dated cheque until after the issue date has passed.

Cheque numbers are also used often. Every cheque has a different cheque number. This is to make sure people can't get money twice from one cheque.