How to Make a Real Pay Stub Online: Comprehensive Guide

Real pay stub

A real pay stub is more than just a piece of paper if you consider its different uses and implications. When a business issues authentic paychecks, it implies that the company is trustworthy and values the security of its employees.

Conversely, employees who use genuine pay stubs to apply for loans, open a bank account, or secure an apartment consequently improve their credit scores and rental references.

Indeed, it is always a great idea to avoid actions that may link you to scams and potential penalties or imprisonment. But how do you distinguish and create a real pay stub?

Read on to discover!

Key Takeaways

  • A real pay stub contains complete information about an employee’s gross and net earnings, withheld taxes, and voluntary and involuntary deductions.
  • Creating an authentic pay stub entails correcting any mistakes, such as typos and miscalculated values, ensuring complete information, using a pay stub generator, and adding a company logo.
  • Fake pay stubs contain estimated values, swapped zeros and the letter ‘o,’ and inconsistent formatting.

What is a Real Pay Stub?

A real pay stub, also called a pay slip or a paycheck, is a valid document prepared by employers every payday.

The document records all the work hours completed by each employee in a pay period, including their corresponding gross earnings, tax withholdings and deductions, and net earnings.

Pay stubs have long been used, although the oldest version of paychecks did not come in the paper and electronic form we’ve come to use now.

It could even be argued that the earliest forms of pay stubs were cuneiform or clay tablets.

Akin to the authentic and modern-day payslips we use at present, these ancient tablets also recorded the oldest form of payment or compensation given for certain work done.

Before the industrial revolution, workers were paid through trading goods such as clothing, food, and even liquor. It was during the 18th century that employers began paying workers with money.

Presently, real pay stubs come in both electronic and paper form, depending on the preferences of the employee and the governing pay stub requirements in each state.

Employees need pay stubs because they record their wages and tax withholdings for a specific pay period. Their pay records also confirm that they are compensated according to the hourly or salary rate in their employment contract.

When filing tax returns, applying for loans and credit cards, or renting an apartment, employees use their paycheck as proof of income. This is also the reason why it is crucial for employers to issue genuine pay stubs so employees are not mistaken for scammers.

On the other hand, employers use pay stubs to assess their accrued expenses and ensure there are sufficient funds to continue paying their workers for as long as they are employed by the company.

What Information Goes on a Real Pay Stub?

Here’s an example of a real pay stub:

Example of a real pay stub

If you want to know how to identify a genuine pay stub from a fake one, take note of the following essential information that only a real pay stub contains:

Must-Have Information on a Genuine Pay Stub

General Details About Employees and Employee

Includes the employer's and employee’s names, contact information, and address.

Employee’s Social Security Number (SSN)

A distinct numerical identifier assigned to each U.S. citizen at birth.

Hourly Rate

The rate paid to an employee per hour.

Pay Period

The repetitive cycle of days or weeks wherein work hours are accumulated.

Pay Date

The date when pay stubs and salaries are released for each pay period.

Hours Worked

The total number of work hours rendered in a given pay period.

Gross Pay or Gross Earnings

The total earnings before taxes and deductions.

Year-to-date (YTD)

The total gross and net income earned from the beginning of the year up to the date when the latest pay stub is released.


It covers the employee’s federal, FICA, and state taxes.

Employee Benefits

It includes health insurance, a retirement plan, and/or group-term life insurance.

Voluntary Deductions

Health and life insurance contributions that employees agreed to deduct monthly from their salaries.

Involuntary Deductions

Also called wage garnishments, these are court-mandated deductions meant to cover alimony, child support, student loans, or taxes owed by the employer.

Net Pay or Net Earnings

The total earnings after taxes and deductions. It is also the amount deposited into employee’s bank accounts every payday.

How to Make a Real Pay Stub

Now that you know the essential information contained in a real pay stub, it is also crucial to understand what it means to produce pay stubs with 100% authentic data.

Manipulating any detail about an employee’s earnings, hourly rates, taxes, and contributions yields inaccurate values and therefore renders their pay stub invalid. It could get employees into trouble if they use pay stubs to apply for loans.

Employers are also not safe from the consequences of issuing fake pay stubs to their workers. They could get sued, face penalties and fees, and even be forced to cease business operations permanently.

So, here’s how to make a real pay stub:

#1. Use a Pay Stub Generator

A real pay stub generator uses templates with complete information that you would normally see in a genuine paycheck. The pay stub templates also exhibit a professional, consistent, and organized format.

Pay stub generators let you create pay stubs in a short time. Some even come with a built-in calculator, so you can generate accurate values for gross and net earnings and deductions.

#2. Input Real Data and Numbers

The best way to ensure that pay stubs contain real data and values at all times is to hire the expertise of a human resources manager, a payroll manager, and an accountant.

Payroll managers and accountants have relevant background in ensuring that the amount withheld from each employee’s pay for their taxes and benefits is based on their tax bracket and filing status.

They are also responsible for determining the pay dates for each month based on the company’s pay period.

Meanwhile, a human resource manager’s role is to oversee each employee’s general information, check that all data is up-to-date, and follow up on any necessary changes or further verification.

#3. Check For Potential Errors

Always review every pay stub before printing or emailing it to your employees. Check that all the inputted information is correct. Remember, a real pay stub must be free from any error—whether it be a simple typo or miscalculated value.

#4. Add a Company Logo

A company logo at the topmost part of a pay stub is a clear indication that the document is genuine and produced by a legitimate company.

Aside from underscoring your brand, logos are a trademark that, when included in company documents, instantly makes your employees recognize that the file or document is truly sent by management.

Fake Pay Stubs vs. Real Pay Stubs

If you still need more information on how to generate real pay stubs, listed below are key differences that distinguish fake pay stubs from real pay stubs:

#1. Disappearing Decimals

Real pay stub

Real pay stub with good decimals

Fake pay stub

Fake pay stub with bad decimals

Decimals are more common in real pay stubs than rounded and estimated values. After all, not all employees have the same amount of taxes, contributions, and deductions imposed on their salary.

Hence, perfectly rounded values are highly improbable. Estimates could mean that the pay stub is fake and contains manipulated data.

#2. Confusing Zeros With the Letter ‘O’

Real pay stub

Real pay stub with real zeros

Fake pay stub

Fake pay stub: Confusing Zeros With the Letter ‘O’

Some fraudsters may use fonts whose zeros and the letter ‘o’ bear a striking resemblance. This may not be as easy to spot at first, so it is essential to take a closer look at each pay stub to avoid missing this tell-tale detail of a fake pay stub.

#3. Inconsistent Formatting

Real pay stub

Real pay stub with consistent formatting

Fake pay stub

Fake pay stub with inconsistent formatting

Scammers and even unemployed individuals tend to be careless when it comes to formatting their fabricated pay records. They don’t pay attention to the smallest details, thinking that lenders and landlords are only focused on the gross and net pay values.

In truth, a real pay stub is prepared by a company’s payroll and accounting departments. Legitimate companies see to it that employees receive professional-looking pay stubs that are orderly and easy to understand.

Final Thoughts

A responsible employer makes it a point to issue a real pay stub to each of their employees. Similarly, landlords, lenders, banks, and even employees should keep a keen eye on the legitimacy of the pay stubs they receive to prevent involvement in scams.

All in all, when in doubt, you can always reread this article and use it as a helpful guide in identifying real ones and differentiating them from counterfeit pay stubs.

Real Pay Stubs FAQ

#1. What does a real pay stub look like?

A real pay stub is neat and organized, contains accurate values that are true to an employee’s tax bracket, hourly rates, and filing status, and bears the employer's and employee’s correct name, address, and contact details.

#2. How do I make a real pay stub?

If you want to make a real pay stub, one of the best ways to do so is by taking advantage of a reliable check stub maker. It is easy to use and suits different business needs and individual preferences.

You can also employ an accountant or a payroll manager to guarantee accuracy in calculating employee salaries and deductions at all times.

#3. Why are pay stubs important?

Pay stubs serve as proof that employees are compensated accordingly. They can also be used as proof of income when securing loans or renting apartments, as well as a reference when filing tax returns.

#4. What is the best pay stub generator? offers the best pay stub generator in town. We highlight convenience, efficiency, and your distinct branding.

Our pay stub templates are user-friendly and come in different layouts, so you’re sure to find one that suits your taste. We also have a built-in calculator, so you don’t have to worry about all the math that comes with preparing pay stubs.

Finally, our pay stub generator contains all the necessary fields in a real pay stub, and you can preview and download copies of your pay stub in minutes.


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