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Brad Fitzpatrick

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Languages on checks [Jul. 30th, 2002|12:51 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick
You know that part of the check where you write "thirty-three dollars and eight cents -----------"?

Does anything say that you have to write in English there? I can't find anything that says so.

Presumably there are Americans who don't know English, yet have money and write checks.

Could I legally write "treinta y tres dólares y ocho centavos" or "dreiunddreissig Dollars und acht Cents"?

Does my bank set policy?
Does the federal government banks set policy?
Does the bank of the check recipient set policy?

[User Picture]From: _benbenben_
2002-07-30 12:57 pm (UTC)

I don't think the bank really cares what that says; I think they would pay attention to what you have put in the number box. 33.08$ I suppose you could write it in roman numerals, that is if you don't mind the check coming back, and in turn having your power shut off.
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[User Picture]From: jojobear99
2002-07-30 02:28 pm (UTC)
you would *think* they'd just read the little box, but on my last bank statement wells fargo proved otherwise. I accidentally wrote a difference of two dollars on the spelled out part, and they went with the higher value...the one written out in words
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[User Picture]From: supersat
2002-07-30 08:00 pm (UTC)
If the two don't match up, the written part is the one they use.
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[User Picture]From: darksoul
2002-07-30 12:59 pm (UTC)
technically, that section is where the bank is supposed to view the amount the check is for. while you have the box that you write in the amount for, the written part is what's legally binding. you could write "one dollar" on the line and put "$10,000" in the box and it's still a one dollar check. in theory, it shouldn't matter what language you write in, but you might want to use a language that your average bank teller will understand, otherwise they could technically void your check for being unintelligible. the official legalities? no clue.
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[User Picture]From: radiskull
2002-07-30 05:04 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: teaser
2002-07-30 01:08 pm (UTC)
I'm sure you could write in any language. It's basically there so you can verify that the correct amount was written in the figures portion of the check and no-one has made any adjustments to your personal checks by squeezing extra zeroes in.

I live in South Africa and I've seen checks (we spell it cheques - a legacy of being colonised by Britain) written in at least three different languages.

It's an interesting question, why don't you enquire at your bank?
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[User Picture]From: mart
2002-07-30 01:10 pm (UTC)

Or indeed, inquire about it at the bank. ;)

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From: ex_debgirl0
2002-07-30 01:13 pm (UTC)



only you would think of these things...
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[User Picture]From: graceadieu
2002-07-30 01:14 pm (UTC)


The check amount written in numerals must exactly agree with the amount written in prose for the check to be acceptable to the bank. It can be written in a number of ways (i.e. "three thousand three hundred four and 21/100 (dollars)" or, can be written alternatively, "thirty-three hundred four and 21/100 (dollars)" but it must be in an language recognized by the bank on which the draft is drawn. I imagine you can write it in Spanish or any other language, but why would you want to? Also, given the questionable intelligence and flexibility of the average American, English-proficient(?) bank clerk, even writing the check in English might be a stretch. :)
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From: sonicice
2002-07-30 01:14 pm (UTC)
Personally, I think the best solution would be to walk into the bank, and insert the following words, in no particular order, into your speech.

"Holdup." "This" "A" "Is"

Let me know how it turns out.
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[User Picture]From: patrick
2002-07-30 01:35 pm (UTC)
"I am about to HOLDUP the line here with a question. THIS IS A check and I was wondering...."
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[User Picture]From: thedrought
2002-07-30 01:21 pm (UTC)
in the past you were able to write in another language (or even if you can't spell) don't know about now...
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[User Picture]From: niko
2002-07-30 01:31 pm (UTC)
I was taught to write "Eighty-eight dollars and ---------------- 3/100"
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[User Picture]From: grocible
2002-07-30 05:50 pm (UTC)
As an officer at the bank I work for, I don't think any of my tellers can read English, let alone another language.

The prose amount is the legal amount - whatever that says is what the check is supposed to be, no matter what the boxed amount says.

If a bank processes a check the wrong amount (used boxed amount instead of prose) it's a proof error. If the proof operator caught the error, extra points for them doing their job properly. Of course, this will probably cause more problems since the deposit was more than likely prepare incorrectly so now the transaction is out of balance.

UCC may say it has to be in English, but I doubt it.
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[User Picture]From: way2tired
2002-07-30 06:57 pm (UTC)
Fed Says: Numeric Amount in words and box must match. Language should be in the language of the preprinted text on the check.
Issuing Bank (Your bank, if you wrote the check): Signature must match your signature, any discrepencies are their responsibility to sort out before honoring the check
Receiving bank: So long as Issuing bank is paying, and there is no suspicion of fraud, MUST accept funds.
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[User Picture]From: wampithesilver
2002-07-31 09:02 am (UTC)
Just for laughs, I used to write my checks in french or german (or a mixture of both). Nobody seemed to have a problem with it. Although, I did get some odd looks from some clerks...
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[User Picture]From: diane_court
2002-07-31 10:22 pm (UTC)
as a random nitpick...you don't ever need to write "dollars" on the line. it's printed after. otherwise you're just being redundant and taking up extra space.

pointless triviality, but it's late and my mind is working that way.
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