A cheque is a written instruction by you to your bank to pay a specific amount of money from your bank account to the person you have named.

The Benefits

You don’t need to know the bank account number of the person you want to pay by cheque.

Cheques can be mailed to the person or organisation you want to pay.

You don’t need funds in your bank account when you write a cheque (but you MUST have enough funds in your account to cover the cheque when it is deposited by the person you want to pay).  

Things to keep in mind

Normally cheques take a few days to be paid. However the person to whom the cheque is made out may ask for a “special answer” from the payer’s bank for quicker payment.

If you’ve paid someone by cheque you need to remember to leave enough funds in your account to cover it, as there can be a time-lag before a cheque is deposited.

Not everyone accepts cheques as payment as they can sometimes dishonour (i.e. not be paid by your bank). Before paying by cheque it’s always worth ensuring the recipient accepts cheques.

If you receive payment by cheque you will need to take it to your bank to deposit it and it may take a few days before you can use the funds.

Books of cheques are available from your bank for certain bank accounts.

Security

You can request your bank to stop payment of a cheque if it is lost, stolen or not received by the intended recipient but this must be done before it’s paid by your bank

Cheques are verified by the bank before they are paid for correctness (e.g. to ensure they have been signed in accordance with the account operating authority and the amount in words and figures agree).