If someone owes me money, can they change the terms of payment by writing it on the memo line of the check that they give me?

UPDATED: Jul 2, 2017

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Jul 2, 2017Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If someone owes me money, can they change the terms of payment by writing it on the memo line of the check that they give me?


Asked on July 2, 2017 under Business Law, Alaska


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, they cannot. A person can't unilaterally change the amount owed or terms of payment by making such a notation. The memo line on a check has no legal force; it's just for informational purposes. Think about it, if it was that easy to alter the terms of a payment, it would done all the time. For instance, a person could write "payment in full" for a bill and then just be done with it. Further, the fact is that not every check can be that closely monitored for such notations as it would tie up commerce. Accordingly, the recipient of a check can cash it without being bound by whatever may have been written in on the memo line.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption