How to Void a Check Correctly

Writing out a paper check might be less common today, as many people manage their finances online. Also, electronic checks are a thing these days. If you are setting up a direct deposit or setting up payments from your bank account, you may be required to file a voided check. When setting up an automatic bill payment, deposits from your employer or investments from your bank account, you may need to provide a voided check.

What is a Void Check?

A void check is a check that has the word VOID either printed or handwritten across the front. This indicates that the check should not be accepted for payment. For example, if you void check #101, it will never be cashed. And when next you are filing your check, you’d move on to #102.

So far as transactions are concerned, check #101 never existed. The check can be used to get the details like your account number and routing number needed to process electronic payments but cannot be presented for payment.

Your bank account information is on those checks, and whoever requests it will use the information to establish an electronic link to your bank account. Voiding a check inactivates the check; it cannot be used as a blank check.

It also ensures you are not sending out a blank cheque that criminals could fill in and use to withdraw money from your account. Voiding a check is relatively easy; if you don’t know how to void a check, read on.

How Does A Voided Check Work?

As stated earlier, a voided check is mostly used to provide banking information that can be used to set up an electronic link to your bank account. Voided checks are requested because it contains several details about your bank and your account printed on them. Information like:

  • Where or which credit union you use
  • Your bank account number
  • A routing number

Also, the numbers at the bottom of the check provide everything required to deposit or withdraw funds from your account.

How To Use A Void Check?

Below are some scenarios that might warrant you to void a check:

  • Direct Deposit

This mostly applies to employers. Most employers pay electronically instead of writing cheques, so they will need your account information to get the money to the right account. An employer can use a void check to get the information they want and ensure it is correct. Once your account is linked electronically, your money will be deposited directly into your account on payday.

  • Setting up payments

You can use a void check to set up automatic electronic payments for expenses like rent, mortgage, and insurance, instead of always writing cheques or paying in person. Depending on the payment setting, the funds will be deducted from your account automatically each month; that is, if you sign an automatic payment authorization. In the same light, you can set up each payment yourself.

  • Mistakes

In case of an error, while filling out a check, you either void or destroy the check since it cannot be used for anything, and the already filled information could be risky to keep around.

Note that you cannot void a check once it has been given to the payee. The only remedy to stop the check from being cashed or deposited is to request a stop payment from your bank—some banks charge for this process.

How to Void a Check Correctly

Voiding a check is very easy; the process is not strenuous at all. To void a check write the word VOID across the front of the check. Or in smaller letters on the dateline, payee line, amount line/box and signature line.

Be careful not to write it over the numbers printed at the bottom of the check. This is because these numbers are essential for verification purposes. They contain your bank’s routing number and account number.

Also, ensure the ink you used can’t be erased; using a pencil is not advisable. A blue or black pen or a permanent marker would do. Remember to indicate on the check on your cheque book or finance software that it has been void.

Make a copy of the voided check and note the check number for record sake. You can also scan the check or take a photo of it to use that same check if you need a voided check in the future. Consider encrypting your image when you’re sending a voided check electronically.

This is to avoid someone else using your account information. If possible, you can send the image as an encrypted PDF. Note that once voided, the check cannot be used again.

Places Where Void Should Be Written On A Check

To correctly void a check, you must write void on four different places in the check. These places include:

1. Amount box – if you have made an error in the amount box by inputting the wrong figure, simply write void across the amount you’ve written. In a case where the box is blank, write void in the empty colon.
2. Signature line – write void across the signature line where you usually sign the check. You can either write void across your signature if signed or in the empty colon.
3. Front of the check – this is the most popular way people void their checks. Write void boldly across the front of the check.
4. Back of the check – ensure there are no rooms for uncertainties and write void at the check’s back.
Most people only write on one or two of the places mentioned above, which is okay. But it is better to take extra precautions and void the whole four areas.

What To Do If You Don’t Have Any Checks?

Not every checking accounts offer checks. If you have a checking account that does not offer checks, you can try the following options to set up direct deposit or electronic payments.

  • Online Banking Account

An online checking account still uses checks; the only difference is if you are out of checks, you may be able to send yourself a small check via your online bank’s bill payment service. You can then void it and send it to the body requesting it. In the same light, you may be able to print a check at home and follow the same process.

  • Get a Counter Check

As an alternative, you can get a counter check from the bank. Counter checks are the same as starter checks you get from banks when you open an account. Your bank on-demand can print these checks. It features your bank’s routing number and your account number. Note that some banks charge a small fee for counter checks.

  • Get A Letter Printed On Bank Letterhead

Depending on the body requesting the voided check, you can present a printed letter on a bank’s letterhead. The details of the request will determine the information the letter will entail. Generally, expect to provide your account number, name and routing number. It is advisable to type these details rather than write them. Your bank will guide you on how to go about it.

  • Use A Preprinted Deposit Slip

In some scenarios, you can use a preprinted deposit slip to authenticate your banking information. A preprinted deposit slip carries the same details as a voided check. To be on the safe side and avoid delay, verify if a preprinted deposit slip is acceptable in place of a voided check where it is required.

  • Use A Direct Deposit Authorization Form

A direct deposit authorization form is often part of the first process of setting up a direct deposit via an employer or for other types of payments. Some employers and payment providers accept this form. However, you will most times realize that you need both an authorization form and some verification like a voided check.

  • Send a photocopy of a personal check

As an alternative, you can send a copy of a check that your bank has already cleared. Check with the body requesting to know if it is acceptable.

You shouldn’t just void a check and forget about it. It will help if you put a reminder somewhere to notify you that you’ve void a check, the check number and the date it was voided. Also, remember to make a note as to why the check was voided. This will help you track your account in case of any problem.