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When a bank makes a payment on a check, it cancels the check. That is, it marks the check with some kind of stamp so that the check cannot be used again. Postage stamps are also canceled to indicate that they have been used and cannot be used again.

If you have a checking account, the bank sends you your canceled checks along with your monthly statement. These checks can be used instead of receipts. They can be used as proof that payment has been made.

If you open an account or if you want to cash a check, you must provide proof of your identity. In the U. S., a driver's license is probably the most frequently used kind of identification. Passports are always acceptable for this purpose. When you open an account, you are asked to fill out a signature card. You must be careful to sign your name exactly as you intend to write it on your checks. The bank compares the signature on your checks with that on your signature card. If there is any doubt about the signature, the bank will refuse to cash the check and will return the check to the endorser. A check must be endorsed before it can be cashed - that is, the person or company to whom the check is made out must sign it on the back.

When you put money in the bank, you write the date and the amount deposited on a deposit slip.

At the end of the month, the bank sends you a statement of your account. The statement provides a summary of the checks that have been paid and the deposits that have been made. The amount that is left in your account after the cheeks have been deducted and the deposits have been credited is the balance.

If you ever went to the United States to study in a college or a university, one of the first things you would have to do is open a checking account. You would find it safer and more convenient to put your money in a bank and write out checks to pay for your larger purchases. And checking accounts have other advantages as well. The canceled checks that are returned to you provide a record of where your money was spent, and they can serve as proof that payment was received ---- that is, canceled checks can serve as receipts.

If you went to a bank to open an account, you would probably go through most of the following procedures.Not all banks have the same requirements for opening new accounts, of course, and the routine may vary somewhat. First you would go to the New Accounts Department and fill out a signature card. In order to open an account, you would have to furnish proof of your identity. A passport is one of the best kinds of identification to have, but other kinds are accepted, one of the most common being a driver's license. You would need to have a permanent address in the city, and you would also be asked to supply the name of a permanent resident who is willing to recommend you. For this purpose you could use the name of your landlord or landlady, for example, or the name of the foreign student adviser at the university. And last but not least, you would need to bring some cash with you in order to open your account. Many banks require a minimum cash deposit of $ 50.

After you had completed your application, the bank would make up an individual folder for your account. Your signature card would be kept in this folder. Whenever checks were received for payment, the bank would file them by number in your folder and compare the signatures with the one on your card. If there was any doubt about a particular signature, the check would not be paid and would be returned to the endorser.

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