I occasionally do consulting for people, using a business name rather than my personal name. I don't do enough work to justify setting up a separate business bank account, so all the checks I write have my full legal name (which is different than the name I go by anyway), rather than the "business" name. I noticed that temporary checks don't have any of the normal payor information pre-printed checks have, and I noticed that you can order computer checks without that information printed.

If I order computer checks without payor information pre-printed and print/sign checks with either my personal information, or an alternate (business) name, will the bank honor the check? What information, if any, is required to be printed on the top left of the check where the payor information typically goes?

2 Answers 2


I am assuming that you are referring to Personal Checks since you do not have a business account.

Generally, your full name is the minimal requirement that is needed on the top left of each check. It is best if this information is pre-printed. In fact, some businesses and banks will not honor a check if your full name is handwritten on the check. This is for obvious reasons such as fraud.

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    I don't think anything is required but the routing number, account number, and the amount- even the recipient's name and the endorsement are optional. I've seen banks complete transactions based on these numbers carved into soap, a toilet seat, and a block of ice. Maybe it's regulated somewhere, or maybe laws have changed, but at one time it was all up to each bank what is needed.
    – jejorda2
    Jul 14, 2015 at 12:49

IANAL, but. As you note, when you open a new account, they give you temporary checks that are usually blank in the upper left. I've used such checks and the bank has honored them. Therefore, I conclude that there must not be any legal requirement for anything to appear there, nor does the bank require it.

Businesses are often reluctant to accept such temporary checks, for the obvious reason that anyone could go to the bank, open an account with $10, write checks for thousands of dollars, and disappear. At least if they've waited long enough to get the permanent checks in, there's some reason to believe that they plan to stick around.

In any case, it's not clear what you are trying to accomplish. You want to hand-write either your business name or your personal name depending on whether the check is for personal or business purposes? I don't see what that gains. You could always use a personal check for business purposes. If you're afraid someone will say, "Hey, that doesn't look very professional, what kind of fly-by-night company is this that uses personal checks?", surely a hand-written company name would look even less professional. Why not just open a business account and have your personal checks printed with your personal name and your business checks with your business name? I don't know where you live, but I have a business account on which I pay zero fees. The only cost is getting checks printed. There's the small hassle of having to make one trip to the bank to open the account. Well, the biggest hassle I have is that the bank won't let me transfer money between my personal and business accounts over the Internet, so I have to either go to the bank to move money back and forth, or I have to write a check from one account to the other and deposit through an ATM.

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