How Do You Void a Check?

Michael Collins
June 2, 2021

How to Void a Check

Voiding a check allows you to share your account number and routing number without giving someone a blank check. To void a check, write “VOID” on the check in large, dark letters that are easy to read.

Don’t know how to void a check? Voiding a check is extremely easy and shouldn’t take more than a minute to do. Here are a few steps for how to void a check:

  1. Find an empty check from your checkbook or a check of yours that’s filled out 
  2. Get a dark pen or marker that’s blue or blue or black 
  3. Write the word “VOID” in large capital letters across the check horizontally, diagonally, or in smaller letters in all lines and sections like the date line, amount line, signature line, and amount box. However, make sure not to cover the account number or routing number at the bottom. 
  4. Take a picture of your voided check and note the check number. This helps prevent wasting checks in the future, as well as keeping records in case of fraud. 

As you can see, learning how to void a check is extremely easy; all you need to do is write “VOID”! Let’s look at why you’d need to void a check in the first place.

Why Void a Check? 

If you’ve ever needed to fill out your bank account information, you know you will be asked what your bank account number is and what your routing number is. Since your checks have your routing number and bank account number on it,  you can send a check to share this information with whoever needs it. 

However, if you send someone a blank check or even a photo of a blank check, there is a huge risk of fraud. If the blank check falls into the wrong person’s hands, they can write a paper check to themselves with whatever amount they want. Scary, right? 

Voided checks allow you to share your routing number and bank account information without the risk of someone stealing money from you. Here are some other reasons you might need to void a check: 

  • Direct Deposit: Direct deposit is a way for the company you work for to automatically send your paycheck to your bank account instead of sending you a  check every payday. To know where to deposit your money automatically, your lender will need to know your routing number and  bank account number. Sending your employer a void check is an easy and efficient way to provide this information to them.
  • Direct Payments: Direct payments are a helpful way to pay someone electronically. Particularly for business purposes, direct payments are often used when paying for supplies and other vendors. Likewise, money transfer apps like Venmo and Cash App use direct payments. To set these up, you will need to provide your bank account and routing number, and sending a voided check can do just that.
  • Automatic Payments: Setting up automatic payments is a great way to automatically pay your credit card balance, loan payment, utilities, and other bills and payments. To set up payments that automatically come out of your checking account or bank account, you may need to provide a voided original check to give out your routing and bank account number. 
  • Safety from Fraud: Fraudsters are cunning, and voiding a check is the best way to prevent anyone from writing a blank check out to themselves using your money. If you have a paper check that you filled out but don’t need to use anymore, voiding the check is one of the best ways to safely make sure the check doesn’t get used again. 

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What If You Forgot to Void a Check? 

Checks can be hard to keep track of. If you frequently write checks, there has likely been a time where you have lost a check that was written out, or you lost a blank check. Whatever the case, a missing check is a big risk for fraud. A blank check or a check with your signature on it might be all fraudsters need to cash that check into their account. 

If you failed to void a check or if you have a missing check, these are the things you need to do. Time is of the essence when you have a lost check, so make sure you do these quickly!

See If It’s Been Cashed

Obviously, the main thing you are worried about with a missing check is if it has been cashed and the money has been taken out of your account. Dealing with a check that has already been cashed is a much more difficult situation, and your bank will need to know as soon as possible.

Call your bank or check your bank statement to see if the check has been cashed. If it hasn’t, follow the next few steps. If it has, you need to report fraud immediately to have the best chance of getting your stolen money back. 

Gather Information

Canceling a check is known as a “stop payment order.” To put in one of these orders with your bank, you will need to provide information about your bank account and the specific check. 

Gather your bank account number, your routing number, the check number of the check that was lost, and the amount of the lost check. Once you have this information, you can call your bank to put in a stop payment order.

Contact Your Bank 

To cancel the check, you will need to tell your bank that if the lost check is lost, they are not to honor it. Provide the information you gathered in the last step to your bank, and they will have all the information they need to cancel the specific check you are looking to void. 

With some banks, you can put in stop payment orders online. However, if your bank does not offer this, you need to take action quickly and call your bank as soon as possible to begin this stop payment order process. 

Be Ready to Pay Fees 

Some banks charge their customers up to about $35 for stop payment orders. While many banks don’t charge for this, you need to be prepared to pay the cost of the stop payment order if you want to be able to cancel the check. 

Don’t be caught surprised by a potential cost for a  stop payment order, and instead, be ready to pay the cost so you can get your stop payment order fulfilled as soon as possible! 

Remember the Expiration Date

For some reason, stop payment orders have expiration dates. While it might make sense for you to simply have the lost check canceled altogether, most stop payment orders have expiration dates (possibly so banks can keep charging you for stop payment orders). 

Most stop payment orders last about six months before they expire. Make sure you are aware of this and renew the stop payment order when it expires. Again, fraudsters are cunning, and they may wait out the six months and hope you forgot to renew your stop payment order! Keep renewing your stop order to keep these fraudsters at bay.  

What If You Don’t Have Checks?  

If you’re a tech-savvy individual whose wallet is a digital one, you probably haven’t written a check in years, much less voided one. Further, not every bank gives checks to their customers when they open an account. So what are you supposed to do if you need to send a voided check, but you don’t have checks to begin with? 

Chances are, whoever you are sending the information on the check to has an electronic form that you can fill out. Almost every HR department has an electronic form you can fill out instead of sending a voided check. If they don’t, you will likely be able to pass on the information over the phone. 

If neither an electronic form nor a phone call is accepted, here are your other options: 

  • Ask your bank for a sample check: Your bank may have the ability to give you a sample check or a “starter check” that contains your routing number and bank account number, just like a normal check would. Request one of these from your bank, and you will be able to void it just like you can with a normal check. 
  • Use deposit slips: A deposit slip is often given to you by your bank anytime you deposit funds into an account of yours. Deposit slips often contain the same information that voided checks have, so using these instead of voided checks can work just fine.
  • Request the information from your bank: If your bank cannot provide you with a check or a deposit slip, it is not the end of the world. Chances are, your bank can provide you with an official document that contains your routing number and bank account number. This document should serve as an acceptable document for replacing a voided check. 

Michael Collins

Michael has a passion for writing and has since brought that passion to Possible. He enjoys reading everything there is to know about film, sports, and finance. His studies in college allow him to be on the forefront of business knowledge so he can better inform his readers.

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