Kids And Finances

Teaching The Skill Of Cashing A Paycheck


paystub, cashing a paycheck, earning money

We take for granted the complexity of things we do every day. They seem simple to us because we’ve done them countless times, but when we try to explain the process to someone else it comes out sounding extremely complex.

I had one of these conversations with my son last week as I tried to explain to him how to cash his first paycheck.

He had turned in his electronic deposit form, but he was told it would take a pay cycle or two before it would kick in. Thus, his first paycheck was a physical check which he showed me with pride beaming in his eyes.

“Do you know what to do with this?” I asked.

“Nope,” he replied.

He had received checks before as birthday and Christmas presents, but my wife or I would cash them and give him the money, or deposit the funds into his savings account. This was different however, as he was taking on more responsibility for his finances, and this money was destined for his checking account.

I began describing the process to him.

Endorse the check

I flipped the check over and showed him the area that was reserved for signing his name. He would have to bring his driver’s license with him as he may be asked to prove his identity before cashing his check.

Starting The Process

We used to have deposit and withdrawal slips, but our bank has moved to a new process of initiating every transaction through a small touch screen at the teller window. He would slide his ATM card, and enter his PIN.

Selecting his Transaction

He would then select that he was doing a deposit, and enter the amount he was depositing, along with the amount of (if any) cash he wanted back. He would then hand the check to the teller.

The Receipt

The final question was to select the method of receiving his transaction receipt. He could get a paper copy of it, or he could have it emailed to the email address he specified when he opened his account. I suggested that he should have it emailed, and then keep all his banking receipts in a specific virtual folder.

Sometime during my explanation I could see his eyes were starting to glaze over a little bit.

“Do you want me to come with you the first time?” I asked.

“Yeah, if you wouldn’t mind,” he responded.

The next day we took a field trip to the bank, and successfully cashed his paycheck. He might get one more paper check before his funds are automatically deposited. Knowing how to deal with a check is something that most adults take for granted, but is another financial skill that must be taught to our children to help them be successful in life.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Do you remember the first time you cashed a check? Have you ever taught someone how to cash a check?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • My account was in trust — something my parents stumbled into. So any time I wanted any money out (including cashing a check), they’d have to come with me.

    Once I started getting paychecks, we’d go to the bank and I’d get out $20. The rest had to stay in my account. So I guess mine is probably the most boring memory you’ll hear.

  • @Abigail – That’s not boring at all! It’s certainly unique……and I bet having to bring your parents with to get money helped keep your spending in check!

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