Are Special Identification Cards Needed to Write Checks?

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Writing a check for a purchase is one way to pay. Some people prefer to use a credit or debit card because it takes less time and is simple to process. However, for those who don't want or can't get a credit card, writing a check is a good alternative to carrying cash. While no "special" identification is required to write a check, your ID should contain certain items to help ensure that your check is legitimate.

Purpose

  • If a business accepts checks, you will need to provide identification proving that the checking account you are using belongs to you. Some small businesses cannot afford the risk of bad checks, so they only accept other forms of payment. However, if you are allowed to pay with a check, your ID will be requested to try to minimize loss from people writing checks against closed accounts or accounts with no money.

Name

  • Your check should contain your name and address, which should match the same information on your ID. Most businesses require a government-issued ID, such as a driver's license or military card. Therefore, if you have moved and ordered new checks, apply for a new identification card as soon as possible, so that your checks are not refused by local merchants.

Photo

  • Your government-issued identification card must contain a current photo. The cashier needs to be able to see that you own the checking account. If your name is on both your ID and check, then the next step is to confirm that you are that person. Therefore, if you are using your driver's license that you obtained when you were 16, and your appearance has drastically changed since then, you should ask your state department of motor vehicles for an updated ID.

Signature

  • The signature on your ID should match the one that you have written on your check in the presence of the cashier. To prevent someone from hijacking your checking account and running up charges against it, don't sign your checks in advance for convenience and don't carry your photo ID in your checkbook.

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