What Are the Different Types of Checks?

Can you remember the last time you found yourself writing or mailing a check? For many of us, using checks feels as outdated as wearing a top hat or riding a train. With the rising popularity of credit cards, debit cards, and digital transactions, many of us rarely even use cash anymore. However, this doesn’t mean checks still don’t play an important role in our economy.

In fact, reports show that billions of checks are still used every year. Sometimes viewed as a safer and more reliable payment option, checks are also often simpler than digital methods. Many businesses still rely on check printing and processing for their payroll needs and paying out their vendors.

In this blog, we’re taking a closer look at the different types of checks. While many of us may not use checks too often, they’re still a popular choice for many financial transactions. If you think your company could benefit from professional check printing and mailing services, give us a call.

SmartPayables is one of the top check printing and processing firms in the industry. With years of experience, the most advanced technology and tools, and a team of accounting experts, we know what it takes to improve your accounting processes, maximize efficiencies, and get the job done right.


Believe it or not, but checks are still an important (and popular) payment type. While most of our financial processes have indeed gone digital, checks still play a vital role in the economy and account for a large number of transactions. In fact, according to the US Federal Reserve, 2020 still saw over 3 million commercial checks collected on a daily basis.

But why would anyone still use checks in our age of digital transactions? Well, there are quite a few reasons why someone might still opt for this traditional payment method. Some businesses still don’t accept credit cards or other payment types, making checks necessary if you want to conduct business with smaller companies or “mom and pop” shops. A focus on shopping locally may also help account for the popularity of using checks.

For many, writing and mailing a check is seen as a safer payment method. While check fraud is still a relevant concern, many people trust checks over digital payments, which may explain why large payments (like down payments or mortgages) still use checks.


Using a check seems pretty simple, right? You write out the amount and the name of the payee and sign it. However, many people don’t realize there are different types of checks. Depending on the situation, using a specific type of check may be more beneficial than using another.

Here’s a look at the most common types of checks:

1. Bearer checks.

Perhaps the most common type of check, a bearer check is one that, simply enough, bears the name of the person or organization to whom the check can be deposited by. These checks are considered transferable by delivery, which means that you only need to bring the check to the bank. No additional verification (aside from personal identification) is needed to process a bearer check.

2. Order checks.

With an order check, the wording “or bearer” is absent, which means that this type of check can only be issued to the person with their name on the check. Banks will complete a normal verification process before funds are released.

3. Crossed checks.

While not as common in the US, crossed checks appear frequently in places like Europe, Australia, and Asia. Essentially, a crossed check is one with two parallel lines drawn throughout the entire check or the top-left corner of the check. This marking signifies that the check can only be deposited in a bank and not immediately cashed at some other type of institution.

4. Certified checks.

Certified checks are drawn directly against your personal checking account. If you’ve written or received a personal check, it was most likely a certified check. A bank representative will print “certified” or “accepted” following the check’s deposit.. These are considered a safe checking option because the bank guarantees the check.

5. Traveler’s checks.

These checks are designed for people traveling internationally. Instead of worrying about carrying cash or exchanging hard currency, a traveler’s check offers a safer method of carrying funds because the check is backed by your bank. If lost, the bank will replace it. However, traveler’s checks have become much rarer nowadays with debit and credit cards so readily available.

6. Post-dated checks.

These checks are used for future payments. A post-dated check will have a future date on it and the check cannot be cashed until that time. For example, if you post date a check for July 28, 2021, the receiver cannot cash it until that date.

7. Antedated checks.

In a way, these checks are the exact opposite of a post-dated check and are much more common in everyday use. Antedated checks are those that are dated prior to the day when the receiver of the check goes to cash it. For example, if you cash a check on July 28 and the check is dated July 12, this is considered an antedated check.

8. Stale checks.

These are checks that are no longer valid. Generally, a check becomes stale, and thus no longer valid, three months after its issue date. This is a way to safeguard against an old transaction suddenly becoming cashed.

9. Mutilated checks.

As the name would suggest, a mutilated check is one that has been torn, ripped, or otherwise damaged so that it’s no longer verifiable. If any piece of important information is missing or no longer legible (such as the amount, payee, or routing number), then the bank will not deposit the check.

10. Electronic checks (e-checks).

Not all checks are paper. If you’ve ever signed up for direct deposit or automatic payments, then you’ve used an e-check. An increasingly popular option for making payments, using e-checks via advanced check software is ideal for bills or for your mortgage payments so that you don’t have to worry about writing out a check every month.

11. Giant checks.

Okay, so we added this one for fun. You know those giant checks you see people win on game shows or during the lottery? Well, while they might look cool, they’re not actually valid checks. Essentially, a giant check works more like a prop. Just imagine walking into your bank and trying to cash one of those.


Believe it or not, checks are still around. Based on recent reports, it also seems like they aren’t going away any time soon as billions of checks are issued every year in the United States. Seen as a safe, secure, and reliable method of payment, checks still play a vital role in our economy. With so many different types of checks, this payment method can fulfill many financial needs for businesses and individuals alike.

If you believe that your company could benefit from professional check printing and mailing services, contact us the financial experts at Smart Payables to learn more. Tailored to fit the specific needs of your company, Smart Payables is sure to have the right tools and services to take your financial processes and accounting to the next level.

Author at Smart Payables | (720) 287-0030 | Website | + posts

Founded in 2005, Smart Payables offers a full range of accounts payable payment solutions including outsourced check printing and mailing, document and statement printing and mailing, ACH direct deposits + more. Our highly experienced software developers and intelligent printing teams specialize in secure, enterprise-grade payment options that are HIPAA, SOC 1 Type 2, and ISO compliant. Our mission is to help businesses and large organizations implement secure, innovative technology that will reduce overhead and improve business operations and capabilities.

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