When writing a check, what does the bank pay out of your account – the words you write out or the numbers in the box? Madeleine Maldonado, age 81, found out the hard way when she wrote out “three thousand three hundred and 99/100” but entered “$3399.91” in the amount box on her check to pay for her annual long-term care insurance premium. The invoice was for $3399.91 but her bank paid the amount written so her payment was short $98.92. Her insurance company cancelled her policy for nonpayment 3 months later after not hearing from her or family members after sending out notices. The rules governing everyday business and banking transactions say if a check contains contradictory terms, “words prevail over numbers.” For the complete Boston Globe article, follow our link.

When a small error on a check costs you everything

By Sean Murphy | Boston Globe

The box on the check had the exact amount due written in: $3,399.91.

It paid the annual premium on Madeleine Maldonado’s long-term care insurance. If her health deteriorated, the insurance would kick in to cover thousands of dollars in monthly expenses for care at home or in a nursing home. At age 81, it was of vital importance for Maldonado to keep her insurance in effect.

But when she finally made a claim, Maldonado and her daughter were shocked to learn her insurer had canceled the policy due to a $98.92 error. She had written the correct amount in the box, but the words spelling out the amount were wrong.

And when there’s a contradiction between numerals and words on a check, words control. [Read entire article]