Sometimes you will need to void a check, and in order to avoid problems, you’ll need to know exactly how to do it. So if you need to void a check don’t panic! It’s really easy to do.
We live in a very digital world when it comes to finances, but that doesn't mean we may never run into things like checks again. Checks are still a great secure payment option that you might still need to use from time to time, even to make some electronic payments possible.
For example, you might be asked to write a check to pay rent, put down a deposit, or pay a bill. But what happens if you make a mistake writing the check or need to cancel a check?
If you need to cancel a check you've written out, then you need to know how to void a check. This will help keep your checks safe and accounted for as you balance your checkbook.
You can also take advantage of Check City's quick and easy check cashing services if you need to cash a check today!
What is a Void Check?
Before you can learn how to void a check you need to understand what this is. A void check is a check that has been canceled or invalidated by the sender writing the word VOID on the check.
A void check is simply a check with the word “VOID” across the front. Writing “VOID” on a check means that the check can’t be deposited or cashed. When you void something it means you've made it empty, of no effect, or null. So, if a written check is full of the monetary amount you write on it, voiding the check makes that check financially empty.
When you void a check, it can't be used as a check, meaning it can't be deposited. Usually, a check is a document you sign to allow the recipient to withdraw the amount you specified from your bank's checking account. Voiding the check makes the recipient unable to do this anymore.
Why You Might Need to Make a Void Check
You might need to know how to void a check for 4 main reasons: to set up an electronic link to your checking account like direct deposit, to set up direct deposit for autopay, to cancel a check payment, or to safely destroy a check you already wrote.
Set Up Direct Deposit
Your paper checks all have your bank information on them—the name of your bank or credit union and your account and routing number. By giving a voided check, you give the person establishing the link to the bank account information they need to set up your direct deposit. But because the check is void, they won’t be able to use the check to take money from your account.
Set Up Automatic Payments
You can also use a void check to set up automatic payments. Autopay can be very useful to stay on top of recurring bills like utilities, rent, or credit card payments. By using auto-pay you won't have to worry about forgetting any bill payment and accruing late fees and hits to your credit score.
Cancel a Check Payment
Sometimes you'll need to cancel a check payment after you've already sent or given the check.
Safely Destroy a Check You Messed Up Writing
If you mess up writing a check, then you'll want to void the check you already wrote on and start over again. This can happen if you accidentally write the wrong amount on the check, or if you write the wrong name down for the recipient.
For instance, maybe you wanted to write a check out to a newly married couple and wrote the check out to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. This can actually be a bit of a problem for them when they go to deposit the check if the bank account they want to use for that check is only in Mrs. Johnson's name.
How to Void a Check for Direct Deposit
Step 1: If you don't already have a checkbook from your bank or credit union, then contact your bank to receive one.
Step 2: Use a blank check from the checkbook that is linked to your checking account or the account where you want to make deposits.
Step 3: Write the word "VOID" across the front of the check-in large letters. You can also write "VOID" in smaller letters over key parts of the check. You would need to write "VOID" in the payment amount box, across the payee line, and on the signature line. Either method is fine.
Step 4: Cover most of the check with the word “VOID” but do not write over the check numbers at the bottom of the check. These numbers link the check to your bank account and are necessary for establishing the electronic link.
Step 5: Use a writing utensil that can’t be erased, like a marker or an ink pen. Do not use a pencil as someone could erase the word "VOID" and try and use the check to withdraw from your account.
Step 6: Keep a record of the voided check in your check register in the back of your checkbook. This way you can remember why you voided a check later on when you go to balance your checkbook.
How to Void a Check You Already Wrote
So you wrote a check and something goes wrong. Maybe you don’t need the check anymore, or you messed up writing it out and need to change something on it.
If any of these things occur you can simply void the check to ensure it doesn't accidentally get used later. In a way, voiding a check you already wrote is a safe method of destroying the check.
Follow the same procedure outlined above and then store the voided check away in your banking files or keep it in your checkbook.
How to Void a Check You Already Sent
So you wrote a check and gave it or sent it, but now you need to cancel it. Maybe you realized you messed up on the check, or the check got lost in the mail, or maybe you realized too late that you won't have enough money in your account when the recipient of the check goes to deposit it. If either of these things occurs what you are going to want to do is get a Stop Payment Order.
Get a Stop Payment Order
A Stop Payment Order from your bank or credit union is how you void a check you already sent.
Basically, voiding a check you already sent is like bouncing your check preemptively. If you know the check you wrote is going to bounce then canceling the check before the recipient tries to deposit the check can leave you with fewer consequences and fees than if you let it bounce.
However, fees for canceling a check payment may still apply.
If you need a Stop Payment Order for a check, your bank will probably need the information on the check you want to cancel. This is why it is always a good idea to document your check transactions in your check register so that you will always have information like, the check ID number, the amount, and who you paid.
How to Get a Voided Check
To get a voided check you'll need to talk to your bank and get them to send you a checkbook.
Some banks and credit unions will automatically send you a book of checks when you first open an account with them.
Others will require you to purchase your checkbooks from them. Once you have your own personal checkbook, you can write VOID on any of the checks to get a void check.
How to Send a Voided Check
You might need to know how to send a voided check to start a direct deposit with your employer or set up autopay for a bill.
To send a voided check to someone just ask them for the mailing address you should use to mail the void check to them.
Sometimes you can also just bring them void check into them at the office directly.