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There are a number of reasons why you may want to void a check, such as fixing a mistake, preventing loss from fraud or using it to set up direct deposit. Fortunately, the process is very straightforward and can often be taken care of in a few minutes.
What Is a Voided Check?
A voided check is a check that can’t be cashed or used for payment, and it usually has the word “VOID” written across it. For example, you can write a check to someone and then decide you no longer want to pay them that way by voiding the check. Voiding a check tells the bank not accept it for payment if presented.
You can also void a check that was never meant to pay someone. For example, if you need a blank check for direct deposits, you can void a blank check to prevent it from being filled out and used to steal from your account.
How to Void a Check
Here are the steps to void a check:
- Get a black or blue pen and write the word “VOID” in large letters across the front of the check or in all the fields on the check, like payee, amount and signature lines. Be careful not to cover up the routing number or bank account number.
- Make a copy of the check to keep for yourself and note the check number in your checkbook to avoid confusion later on.
- Give the voided check to the person or organization requesting it.
Can You Void a Check You’ve Already Sent Out?
Yes, you can void a check you’ve already sent out, though it takes a few more steps.
Here is how to void a check you’ve already sent:
- Check your bank statement or online account to see if the check has already cleared. When in doubt, contact your bank and they can confirm whether the money has already been issued.
- If the check hasn’t cleared yet, get the info you need to stop the payment, such as:
- Your bank account number
- The check number
- The name of the person the check was for
- The date of the check
- The amount of the check
- Give your bank the above information and any other info they request so they can void the check.
Depending on your bank, you may have to pay a fee to void a check you’ve already issued.
Reasons You May Want to Void a Check
Here are some of the most common reasons you might void a check:
- Direct deposits. An employer can use a voided check to set up direct deposit for your paycheck using your routing and bank account numbers.
- Electronic payments. If you run a business and your vendors want to be paid electronically, providing your account credentials via a voided check may be part of the setup process.
- Autopay for bills. Though this is done online mostly these days, in some cases, you can arrange with a bank or credit union to automate bill payments using the account information on your voided check.
To void a check you’ve already sent, write down the check’s date, amount, check number, your bank account number and the name of the person or entity it was sent to. Then contact your bank and ask them to issue a stop payment order on your check.
Yes, you can set up direct deposit without a voided check:
1. Contact your job's payroll department and explain that you’d like to provide account information instead of a voided check for security reasons.
2. They may ask you to fill out a direct deposit authorization form with your name, checking account number, routing number and your bank's name.
3. They may perform a test transaction (usually under a $1) to make sure the payment system has been properly set up, and they might ask you to confirm one or more deposit amounts.
If you don’t have checks and want to set up direct deposit, contact the payee to make arrangements. You will likely need to provide your bank’s name, your account number and your routing number.
No. A canceled check is one that has been written and cashed out by the bank, while a voided check is one that can't be cashed because you've invalidated it.
Send a voided check online by writing the word “VOID” in large letters or in all the spaces you would normally input information. Take a picture or scan the check and then send it to the entity that needs your account information.
No, if the check has been correctly voided, it can't legally be cashed.
The short answer is yes, it's possible for someone to use a voided check to steal money from you. However, they would usually either need more information or be highly skilled in fabricating fake checks.
For example, if they also have your Social Security number, they may be able to use that info in combination with the voided check to steal from you. Also, a thief could create fake checks that look like they came from your bank using the info on your voided check.
If you lose a voided check, inform your bank right away to make sure they are on alert for potential unauthorized transactions. They may be able to change your account number or even recommend closing your bank account and creating a completely new account and checks.