How Your Check Gets Paid

Processing Image

After you write a check, it has to be processed. Processing typically takes five business days to complete. The majority of checks in the United States are processed by an association of banks, or clearinghouses. These banks or clearinghouses exchange millions of checks that will be paid by the banks whose customers wrote them.

Some banks deposit checks for processing at other banks, or at one of the Federal Reserve System's check processing centers located throughout the country. The Federal Reserve is the central bank of the United States, and it serves as a "bank for banks." The Federal Reserve's check processing centers process about one-third of the checks written in the United States, primarily those checks paid by banks not in the same city as the banks that deposited them.

Using Your Check Register

Using Your Check Register

  • Number: If you are writing a check, the number would go here. If not, leave blank. The check number is located in the upper right-hand corner of your check.
  • Date: The date you wrote the check, made a deposit, used your debit card, and so forth.
  • Description of Transaction: Write what the transaction was for (the Payee, Deposit, ATM Use).
  • Payment/Debit: Record the amount of the check, or withdrawal. This will be subtracted from your balance.
  • Code: Fill in the type of transaction you are making if you are not writing a check. When you receive your statement each month, place a check mark here if the transaction is listed.
    Codes: D- Deposit, ATM- Automatic Teller Machine, DC- Debit Card, TT-Telephone Transfer, T- Tax Deductible, AP- Automatic Payment, O-Other.
  • Fee: Record the fee, if any, for the transaction. This will be subtracted from your balance.
  • Deposit/Credit: Record the amount of any deposits or credits to your account. This will be added to your balance.
  • Balance: Write down the amount in your account after subtractions (payment) or additions (deposit).