Difference Wiki

Bill vs. Check: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on January 9, 2024
A "bill" is a statement of money owed for goods or services, while a "check" is a written order directing a bank to pay money from an account.

Key Differences

A bill is commonly issued in the context of a transaction, representing an amount owed for products or services received. A check, however, is used in banking, as a document instructing a bank to pay a specific amount from one's account.
A bill is essentially a request for payment, often itemized to detail the charges. A check is a financial instrument, a promise of payment from one party to another through a bank.
The issuance of a bill is typically the first step in a payment process, indicating an obligation to pay. Writing a check is part of the payment process, used to settle a debt or obligation, possibly including paying a bill.
A bill is a statement of what is due, but by itself, it is not a means of payment. A check is an actual method of payment, carrying legal and financial obligations once it is written and signed.
Bills are common in commerce, from utilities to dining. Checks are used in various financial transactions, from personal payments to business dealings.

Comparison Chart


A statement of money owed for goods or services
A written order to a bank to pay a specific amount

Usage Context

Commercial transactions, requesting payment
Financial transactions, making payment


Request for payment
Financial instrument for payment

Financial Process

Indicates an obligation to pay
Settles a debt or obligation

Legal Implications

Indicates owed amount, no payment authority
Legal promise of payment, can be cashed

Bill and Check Definitions


A statement listing charges for goods or services.
The restaurant presented a bill for the meal.


A form of payment drawn against deposited funds.
He used a check to pay his rent.


A document showing an amount owed for services rendered.
He received a utility bill every month.


A written order directing a bank to pay money.
She wrote a check to pay for her groceries.


A formal request for payment.
The contractor sent a bill for the completed work.


A means of transferring money from one account to another.
He sent a check to his daughter for her tuition.


An itemized list of goods sold or services provided, with their prices.
The bill for the hotel stay detailed all the charges.


A banking instrument for transferring funds.
The company issued a check for the services rendered.


A legislative proposal in government.
The senator introduced a new bill in Congress.


A way of making payments without using cash.
She preferred paying by check for large purchases.


An itemized list or statement of fees or charges.


The act or an instance of inspecting or testing something, as for accuracy or quality
Gave the paper a final check.


A statement or list of particulars, such as a theater program or menu.


Are checks safe to use?

Checks are generally safe, but they carry the risk of fraud if mishandled.

What is a check?

A check is a written order to a bank to pay a specified amount from an account.

What details are needed on a check?

A check must have the payee's name, amount, date, and signature.

How do you cash a check?

A check is cashed at a bank or through a mobile banking app.

What happens if you don't pay a bill?

Non-payment can lead to late fees, service discontinuation, or legal action.

Is a bill legally binding?

A bill indicates an obligation but is not a legal tender itself.

Are electronic bills common?

Yes, electronic or e-bills are increasingly common.

What is a bill?

A bill is a statement of money owed for goods or services.

Can you pay a bill with a check?

Yes, a check can be used to pay a bill.

Can a check bounce?

Yes, if there are insufficient funds in the account.

Is it safe to mail a check?

Generally, yes, but it's advisable to use secure mailing methods.

Are cashier's checks different from personal checks?

Yes, cashier's checks are drawn against a bank's funds and are more secure.

What information is on a bill?

A bill typically includes charges, dates, and payment terms.

Are post-dated checks valid?

Yes, but they cannot be cashed until the date on the check.

Can bills affect credit score?

Yes, especially if they are unpaid or paid late.

What is a utility bill?

It's a bill for services like electricity, water, or gas.

Can checks be stopped?

Yes, a stop payment order can be placed on a check before it's cashed.

Can a bill be used as a receipt?

A paid bill can serve as a receipt for the transaction.

Can a bill be disputed?

Yes, if there are errors or discrepancies.

What is an overdue bill?

A bill that has not been paid by the due date.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons