There are a lot of things we didn't realize we'd need to know as adults. Like how to fold a fitted sheet. Or how to jump-start a car. Another item on that list? How to void a check. Because there are a few steps you should take before you hand over (or get rid of) a check. Here’s what you need to know about using a voided check.
Let’s back up. What is a voided check?
It’s a check that’s not supposed to be used to make a payment. Instead, you'd give it to a business or person so they can get your bank account info ( your account and routing numbers).
Some examples of when you’d void a check: If you're setting up direct deposit with an employer. Or you're opting to pay bills online. Or if you made a mistake when you were filling out the check in the first place and need to make sure it can't be processed. (Psst...here's a refresher on how to write a check.) Voiding a check is also a great way to protect your account information after you cashed a check via mobile deposit, because once it’s voided, it can’t be cashed or deposited.
Can you tell me how to void a check?
It’s simple: You can write ‘VOID’ in big letters across the front of the check in blue or black ink. Or write ‘VOID’ on each line of the check.
Here’s a voided check example
Wait, can I void a check if I don't have a checkbook?
You can ask your bank or credit union for a voided check. They may have starter checks, aka checks printed at the bank with no pre-printed contact info. Or a teller might be able to print out a copy of a voided check with your account details. If you need a voided check and you don’t have a checkbook, your best bet is to ask the recipient about submitting your account details online as an alternative. Or submitting a deposit slip instead.
Can I void a check that was lost?
Once a check is out of your hands, you can't void it. But you can contact your bank to have a stop payment placed on it. In order to do this, you’ll need to have some info handy for your bank, like the check number, payee, and amount. That way, even if it’s deposited or cashed, the money won’t be deducted from your account.
Even though voided checks are still a thing, not everyone has blank checkbooks lying around in 2023. Luckily, voiding a check is pretty easy. But make sure you do it correctly before you hand your account info over to anyone.
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