Suppose a person writes a check out to someone that they owe $500, but does not specify the amount on the check and instead tells the person to fill out the amount for five hundred and cash it. If the person fills the check out for 1,000 instead and the bank honors it, how much can the bank receive for the check?

  • 5
    "how much can the bank receive for the check?" huh?
    – littleadv
    Oct 23, 2012 at 0:09
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    If the money is in the account, the check clears. If not, but there's an overdraft line it clears. No overdraft, no money, it bounces. Why,in the world, does a person hand out a signed blank check? Oct 23, 2012 at 1:57
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    Is this a real situation? Perhaps a police report is in order?
    – MrChrister
    Oct 23, 2012 at 4:10
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    I hope you didn't give a blank check to an 11-year-old boy who filled it out for $1,000,000 and spent it all in a week.
    – Dan B.
    Oct 24, 2012 at 12:59

1 Answer 1


After signing a check, one should never leave the amount payable blank.

If a bank is presented with the check, the bank will honor the check as long as sufficient funds are available in the account. If the available funds are insufficient, the bank will honor the check if there is adequate overdraft protection in place on the account. The bank will probably assess an overdraft fee to the account holder as well.

Specifically, if the amount payable has been filled in with a dollar amount, $1000.00 and the correct corresponding amount is written out as well

One thousand dollars and -------------------------- 00/100

then the check is valid.

If the check has not been presented to the bank for payment yet, it may be possible to stop payment on the check. This is not a guarantee though, and it will be associated with additional fees. If done in time, it would prevent the check from being honored though.

You should contact your bank as soon as possible if the situation is such that you may be subject to an unauthorized debit (withdrawal) of $500.00 from your account.

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    Need to remember that stopping payment on the check doesn't change the obligation. Since the check is properly signed, any claims of fraud must be proven by the account holder. The check holder may sell the check to someone else to collect, or try and collect it himself.
    – littleadv
    Oct 23, 2012 at 5:07
  • I'm not so sure about $500. It is my understanding that if the check is properly signed, then it must be honored, unless stolen. I'm not so sure the OP can easily avoid paying whatever sum is filled in.
    – littleadv
    Oct 23, 2012 at 6:10
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    @MrChrister & Feral - my point is that it is not black and white. You can claim fraud - but you're the one who has to prove it, the other side only has to present the check.
    – littleadv
    Oct 23, 2012 at 7:01
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    Just as an aside, in the UK, so long as you haven't used a cheque guarantee card, you can cancel any cheque for any reason, so long as you didn't hand over the cheque with the intention of cancelling it. Obviously you're still liable for paying the original amount by some means. See here for more details.
    – Edd
    Oct 26, 2012 at 12:20
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    @FeralOink I presume the OP is not in the UK because of their use of $s (USD/CAD/AUD/...?), but I just found that answer particularly interesting because of the contrast between the US and UK systems. Of course the advice about never signing a blank cheque still holds, but if you're quick it appears simpler in the UK.
    – Edd
    Oct 26, 2012 at 12:31

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