Personal Check Payments

Some students may not have extensive experience in writing personal checks for payment of University Housing deposits, quarterly bills, Wiscard, etc. This page is meant to serve as a guide in writing checks that will have no issues being used for payments.

Diagram of a Check

Diagram of a check

  1. Maker: the person/business who writes the check — your name and address will be printed here
  2. Payee: the person/business to whom the check is written who may cash the check — checks should be made payable to "UW-Madison Division of University Housing"
  3. Date: the date the check is written
  4. Check Number: printed on the check in the upper right
  5. Numerical Amount: the amount written in numbers
  6. Signature Line: you must sign the check here
  7. Account Number: your checking account number printed on the MICR line on the bottom
  8. For/Note: your customer reference number (see check acceptance guidelines below)
  9. Routing Number: your bank's routing number, printed on the MICR line on the bottom
  10. Written Amount: the amount written in words, including cents

Guide to Writing a Check

  • Debit card example Ensure all information is clearly written in ink
  • Write all information as far to the left on each line as possible
  • When writing the written amount, draw a line through any extra space at the end
  • Your signature should match the one your bank has on file — never scribble illegibly, as this makes your signature easier to forge
  • Make sure the written amount is exactly the same as the numerical amount — if the two differ, the written amount is considered legally binding

Check Acceptance Guidelines

  • Checks for payments to University Housing must:
  • Be written on a check from a United States bank OR a foreign bank that operates a branch in the United States OR a foreign bank that operates in the United States through an affiliation with a United States bank
  • Be written in United States Dollars ($)
  • Contain the legible full name and address of the maker of the check in the upper left-hand corner
  • Have a pre-printed check number in the upper right-hand corner of the check
  • Be payable to "UW-Madison Division of University Housing"
  • Have the amount written in both the numerical amount and written amount areas
  • Be signed by the maker of the check in the lower right-hand corner
  • Contain a customer reference number in the notation section for the person for whom the payment is being made:

*NOTE: University Housing processes all checks on the date they are received. Checks will not be held for any period of time. Customers should be prepared for any post-dated check tendered to University Housing to clear their bank earlier than expected.

Acceptable Checks

  • Checks from a personal, business, trust, or investment fund checking account
  • Checks drawn directly from a bank, savings bank, credit union or Visa/MasterCard/Discover account (e.g. cashier’s checks, bank drafts, money orders, traveler’s checks and credit card checks)
  • Traveler’s checks and money orders drawn from non-traditional United States financial institutions (e.g. American Express, US Postal Service, Traveler’s Express, Western Union, etc.)
  • Checks issued to a customer by the State of Wisconsin or by the University of Wisconsin - Madison that have been properly endorsed over to us by the customer (e.g. state payroll checks, financial aid refund checks, UW-Madison Accounting Services checks and UW-Madison Bursar’s Office checks)

Unacceptable Checks

  • Starter Checks: a small quantity of checks provided by a financial institution for new customers to write checks while they are waiting for their permanent check orders to arrive
  • Two Party Checks: checks originally made out as payable to anyone other than "UW-Madison Division of
  • University Housing" (exception: any state-entity issued checks referenced above)
  • Altered Checks: checks made out incorrectly and altered in some fashion with the intention of making it acceptable for payment
  • Checks from Customers with Suspended Check-Writing Privileges: checks offered to us from or for a customer whose check-writing privileges are under  suspension (usually as a result of prior returned check activity)
  • Returned Checks: checks processed by us on behalf of a customer that fail to clear the bank
    • A $20 return fee is assessed by the State Treasurer's Office
    • The customer's check-writing privileges to University Housing are temporarily suspended
    • An academic hold is placed on the customer's UW-Madison academic records, if possible, until the returned check has been properly resolved

The Divison of University Housing retains the right to refuse any payment offered to it for any customer account considered to be an unacceptable form of payment, including, but not limited to: soiled, damaged, illegible, or altered checks. Customers may appeal unacceptable payments by contacting the Collections and Cash Manager from the University Housing Cashiers Office from 10am – 4pm Monday – Friday at 608-262-3137 or cashiers.office@housing.wisc.edu.