5

The other day I wrote a check and on the line that you write the amount in words I put how many dollars and wrote right next to that 50/100 without any line or the word "and". Will this work, because I already gave the check and am freaking out!

  • When I write a check for an even dollar amount I typically write "& No Sense" instead of "& No Cents". Occasionally I've done this even when there was a fraction of a dollar, and written the exact amount in the small box. Even when I've done this I've never had a check denied, nor a checked cashed for a few cents less then the intended amount. – aslum Mar 20 '15 at 19:05
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In the US, Section 3.114 of the Uniform Commercial Code sets the rules for how any confusion in checks or other business transactions is handled:

“If an instrument contains contradictory terms, typewritten terms prevail over printed terms, handwritten terms prevail over both, and words prevail over numbers.”

If there was any ambiguity in the way you wrote out the amount, the institution will compare the two fields (the written words and the courtesy box (digits)) to see if the ambiguity can be resolved.

The reality is that the busy tellers and ATM operators typically are going to look at the numeric digits first. So even if they happen to notice the traditional "and..." missing, it seems highly unlikely that such an omission would cause enough ambiguity between these the two fields to reject the payment. Common sense dictates here. I wouldn't worry about it.

  • Why do they do "and 50/100" instead of "and fifty cents", anyway? Is this a requirement (i.e. must monetary quantities written as words have this specific form?), or just a tradition? Also can someone write 5/10 or 1/2 instead of 50/100? Is a dime still a legal unit of currency so someone could write "and five dimes"? – Random832 Mar 20 '15 at 19:04
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    @Random832 the line usually ends with a type written "dollars". "Two and fifty cents dollars" hardly makes sense while "Two and 50/100 dollars" does. – clcto Mar 20 '15 at 21:30
  • @cicto "two and fifty cents dollars" makes perfect sense. A cent literally means "1/100". So while saying "Two and one half" or "Two and five tenths" makes sense, "Two and fifth cents" also makes sense. The word "cent" has fallen out of fashion in favor of "hundreth" these days, mostly because "cent" now means that annoying copper coin instead of a unit of measure, but never the less "Two and fifty cents" is grammatically correct. TMYK – corsiKa Mar 21 '15 at 4:32
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    Sad thing is that if you allow contradictions, then there is absolutely no point in double-writing anyway: the highest priority always wins, so you could as well type "dick dick dick" in the lower priority fields… – o0'. Mar 21 '15 at 10:10
  • @Random832 "Two dollars and fifty cents" would make it easier for someone to tamper with the check. "Two and 50/100" is harder to manipulate. The point isn't to win grammar awards, it's to make it as hard to tamper with as possible. – Loren Pechtel Mar 21 '15 at 20:07

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