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What is a Checkbook?

Michael Pollick
Updated May 16, 2024
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A checkbook generally consists of a supply of preprinted banking checks, a registry for recording payments and deposits, several deposit slips for incoming checks and currency, and a protective sleeve with a pocket for receipts. Many people carry a checkbook inside a purse or in addition to a wallet in their pockets. Because a checkbook often contains sensitive banking information, most people keep a very close eye on it while in public. The loss of blank checks can be a very costly mistake unless reported to the bank immediately.

Whenever a banking customer opens a new checking account, the bank representative will often issue a small book of generic 'starter checks' which must be completely filled out by the customer during each transaction. A rudimentary registry for keeping track of check amounts may also be included in this initial checkbook packet. Once a customer has reached the end of the supply of starter checks, additional packets of preprinted checks may be ordered through the bank itself or other professional check printing companies.

Many people select checkbook designs which reflect their individual personalities or affiliations. The checks themselves must contain some standard information such as an account number, name of the banking institution, routing number for computerized deposits and the customer's contact information. A checkbook only holds one set of checks at a time, but customers often order in bulk. Because the checks are numbered sequentially, it becomes important to maintain the continuity whenever a checkbook is replaced.

A checkbook registry allows users to keep a running account of incoming and outgoing deposits and checks, but periodically these amounts need to be verified against the bank's own records. Monthly statements issued by the bank can be used to determine which checks have been processed and which checks or deposits may still be unrecorded. This information may also be available over the phone or through a secure online account. Making sure the registry balance matches the objective information provided by the bank is called 'balancing a checkbook'. Accurate checkbook information can be vital if an outstanding check amount would be higher than the available balance in the account. Checks returned for insufficient funds can create numerous additional charges from both the bank and the holder of the check.

Maintaining a checkbook properly is an important habit to develop early in life. Parents of working teenagers should demonstrate how to balance or reconcile a checkbook and also stress the dangers of writing worthless checks.

SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to SmartCapitalMind, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
By cupcake15 — On Aug 24, 2010

Crispety- I love Bill Pay too, but I still register my check information manually on the checkbook transaction register. I like to double check my checkbook and my online account to make sure it balances.

I don’t ever want to bounce a check. The fees are incredible. My bank charges like $35 for a bounced check. This is for each time that the checked is bounced. I have never bounced a check, and I hope I never will.

By Crispety — On Aug 24, 2010

SauteePan- I have a checkbook clutch myself, and I kind of like it. I usually don't use the checkbook transaction register. I balance my account online, and have done so for years. Online banking is so much easier.

I check my account every day, so I never have a problem missing an entry. I only use checks for certain businesses that still require checks otherwise, I just use Bill Pay to process my payments.

I try to set up as many automatic Bill Payments as I can. This way when I get my check, I know that my bills are already paid.

By SauteePan — On Aug 24, 2010

Usually when you open a checking account with the bank, they provide you with the checkbook transaction register which is a little booklet where you enter all you check writing information such as the date of the check, and the amount of the check along with who it’s written to.

You are also given a free checkbook until a set is ordered for you. There many checkbook accessories that you can use to house your checks. Coach makes a nice woman's checkbook wallet.

It made of simple leather that is stylish and classic. They also make a checkbook calculator wallet, but I like the regular zipper checkbook wallet instead. These are among the best women's checkbook wallets available.

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to SmartCapitalMind, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide...
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