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Checks: Discrepancies Between The Number And The Written Amount
by John Burnett, BOL Guru

Question: I have a question regarding the manner in which a personal check is written, ie: a check for $100.00 is written in figures where it should be, then on the line where it is suppose to be written in words, customer writes it as: one zero zero(no reference to hundred). Would this be considered legal and properly made out according to UCC guidelines?

Answer: "One zero zero" is readily understood to be a spelled-out recital of the digits in 100. I think it's acceptable. 3-114 of UCC indicates "If an instrument contains contradictory terms, typewritten terms prevail over printed terms, handwritten terms prevail over both, and words prevail over numbers."

I see nothing contradictory in the terms of this check. Not what you'd normally expect to see, but not contradictory.

I did see a good example of contradictory terms on a check last week. The amount in figures was $100.00. The amount in words read "One -------- 00/xx". I'd argue the valid amount on this check was $1 exactly.

While we're on the topic, what about the check that has amount in figures, with the space for words blank? There's nothing that requires a check to have the amount expressed twice (think back to the last time you got a U. S. Treasury check).

First published on 8/12/02

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