LeoGlossary: Check (Cheque)

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The word "check" can have several meanings and uses depending on the context. Here are some of the most common uses for the word "check":

  1. To examine or verify: To "check" something means to examine it carefully to ensure that it is correct, accurate, or safe. For example, you might "check" your bank account balance before making a large purchase.
  2. To stop or halt: To "check" something means to stop it from moving or continuing. For example, you might "check" your speed while driving if you see a police officer on the side of the road.
  3. To restrain or hold back: To "check" something means to keep it under control or prevent it from getting out of hand. For example, you might "check" your temper if you feel yourself getting angry.
  4. To confirm or verify: To "check" something means to make sure that it is true or accurate. For example, you might "check" the weather forecast before planning a picnic.
  5. To inspect or examine: To "check" something means to look at it carefully to ensure that it is in good condition. For example, you might "check" your car's tires before a long road trip.
  6. To mark or indicate: To "check" something means to make a mark next to it to indicate that it has been examined or approved. For example, you might "check" items off a to-do list as you complete them.
  7. To play a game of chess: To "check" is also a term used in the game of chess, where one player's king is threatened with capture on the next move.


An instrument that tells a financial institutions such as a bank to pay a certain amount of money, drawn on a particular account to another the person the check is issued to. The receiver of the check might have an account at another bank or credit union, to the institution is told where to send the money when the check is deposited.

Once the check is presented, the second institution notifies the one where the check is drawn of where to transfer the money. In this era, no money is actually sent since banking is ledger based. The settlement is handled at the reserve level which is nothing more than accounting.

In the banking and financial industry, a "check" is a written order from a bank customer to their bank to pay a specific amount of money from their account to another person or organization. When a check is written, it is typically made out to a specific payee, who can then deposit or cash the check at a bank or financial institution.

When a check is deposited or cashed, the bank will verify that the account has sufficient funds to cover the amount of the check. If there are sufficient funds, the bank will transfer the funds from the customer's account to the payee's account or provide the payee with cash.

Checks are a common and convenient way to transfer funds between parties without the need for physical cash. They are also a useful tool for businesses and individuals who need to make large payments or payments to multiple parties.

However, checks can also be subject to fraud or theft, so it is important to take steps to protect yourself and your accounts. This may include keeping your checkbook and blank checks secure, monitoring your account activity regularly, and reporting any suspicious or unauthorized transactions to your bank as soon as possible.


The history of checks can be traced back over 3,000 years to ancient civilizations such as Egypt and Mesopotamia. However, the modern system of checks that we are familiar with today did not emerge until much later.

The first known use of checks in the modern sense was in the Roman Empire, where they were used to transfer funds between individuals and businesses. These early checks were typically made out of clay tablets or pieces of papyrus, and were used to transfer funds between bank accounts.

However, the use of checks did not become widespread until the Middle Ages, when banks in Italy began to use them as a way to transfer funds between their customers. These early checks were typically handwritten and required the bank to physically transfer funds from one account to another.

The use of checks continued to grow throughout the centuries, and by the 18th and 19th centuries, checks had become a common way to transfer funds in Europe and North America. During this time, checks were typically printed on paper and required the signature of the account holder to be considered valid.

In the 20th century, the use of checks continued to grow, and by the mid-1900s, checks had become one of the most common methods of transferring funds. However, in recent years, the use of checks has declined somewhat due to the rise of electronic payment methods such as online banking, mobile payments, and debit and credit cards.

Despite this, checks remain a popular and convenient way to transfer funds, particularly for large or complex transactions. Today, checks are still widely used in many countries around the world, and are expected to remain a key part of the financial system for the foreseeable future.


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