Voiding a check is an efficient way to avoid frauds. Checks are a very useful payment method, but since the writer doesn’t need to be present when someone cashes it, they’re also one of the most common tools used to commit fraud.
Voiding checks is not only used to avoid frauds, though. In some cases, you might be asked to deliver a voided check by someone who needs your bank information.
Checks Contain Sensitive Information
Table of Contents
- 1 Checks Contain Sensitive Information
- 2 Method 1: Voiding a Check That You Have In Your Hands
- 3 Method 2: Cancelling By Contacting the Bank
- 4 Other Valuable Information
Since checks are unique to each person, they contain relevant data that can be used by someone to create an electronic address linking to your own account. It’s actually a very useful way to provide someone with your bank information.
Maybe you haven’t voided a check before – most people don’t really need to do it once in their lives. It’s only done in very specific situations. In any case, we’ll be showing you some easy ways to void a check.
If you’ve written a wrong date or other wrong information in the check, it’s also better if you void it. Banks don’t like dealing with checks that have words or numbers crossed out. If you want to prevent your check from “bouncing”, the best thing you can do is void it and write a new one.
Method 1: Voiding a Check That You Have In Your Hands
- Grab a permanent marker, pen or any other writing tool which is hard to erase
- Write the word “VOID” where you’d write the name of the person who should cash the check
- Write the word “VOID” on the box where the amount to be cashed should go
- Write the word “VOID” above the signature. If you’ve already signed the check, make sure you also draw a line across it to nullify it
- Do not cover the number at the bottom of the check while following these steps
- Keep tabs on every check that you’ve voided to make sure you don’t forget about it in the future
Although technology has advanced to the point where you can void a check using the Internet, the easiest way to void a check is by hand. The first thing you’ll need is a pen or a marker.
Do not use pencils or any sort of writing device that could be easily erased! One of the main advantages of voiding a check is to prevent theft – if you use a pencil, the voiding can be easily overturned by a thief.
Do not attempt to use any sort of transparent marker either. Black and blue markers and pens are your best options when it comes to voiding a check. Removing any writing made with these pens is very hard, and even if it comes off in the end, the check will look damaged and the bank will render it unusable.
Then, simply write the word “void” where the name of the payee would go in the check. Although writing the word once is more than enough, if you want to truly make sure no one will get their hands on it, you could also write the word plenty of times all over the check. If you’ve already written another name in that line, make sure you cover it anyway.
Don’t obscure the numbers located at the bottom of your check if you intend to give it to an employer! If someone asked you for a void check, you’ll need to keep this number visible. This is used to create links between your bank account and another account holder. To keep it simple, leave it uncovered for administrative purposes.
What To Do Next
For the next step, look for the box where the payment amount goes. If you’ve already written a number there, make sure to write the word “void” over it, but make it as clear as possible.
It doesn’t matter if the writing goes over the edges of the box – just make the font as big and readable as you can.
Then, move on to the signature box. You’ll need to do the same thing you did in the payment box. If you’ve already signed the check, be sure to draw a strikethrough on it – this will nullify its validity. Write the word “void” once again on top of it, just to be sure.
Following these steps will completely nullify the check. There are a couple additional steps that you should take after doing this. Although not entirely necessary, there are additional measures you can take to avoid getting confused in the future.
The first thing you can do is keep notes on every check you’ve written and voided. You can do this on your own checkbook, or you could keep track of it on any other sheet of paper that you use to keep notes.
Remember that each checkbook has a limited amount of checks, and if you forget you voided one or two at some point, you might stress out without any need of doing so.
We also recommend that you write an additional note to yourself, explaining why exactly you decided to void that check. For example, if you wrote the wrong date on it, you might want to point that out to your future self.
If you’ve submitted a void check by request of an employer, you should also note this on your checkbook. The whole process of sharing bank details via checks is not as common today as it was a few years ago, but if you’ve been asked to do it, it’s better that you keep tabs on it just in case.
Method 2: Cancelling By Contacting the Bank
- Collect all the necessary information before contacting your bank
- Make sure you have at hand the number of the check and the name of the payee
- Choose a method to continue with the process
If the check you want to cancel has already been submitted, the process to void it is a but more complicated than we’d like. Before you get in touch with a bank, make sure you have all the necessary information at hand. As a little side note, the process of cancelling an emitted check technically isn’t considered voiding… You might have to pay the bank a fee for the service.
Keep at hand the name of the person that was supposed to cash the check, as well as all the important details of the check. The best thing you could tell the bank to make the process quicker is the number of the check itself.
Look for the check number in your checkbook if you didn’t take note of the number beforehand. For future payments, make sure you write down every important bit of info before sending a check.
You’ll also need to tell the bank the reason why you want to void the check. You’ll need to be clear and precise with what you tell them; do not make up any piece of information or you could get in trouble. More importantly, DO NOT attempt to cancel a check to get away from a payment or you could get in legal trouble with the bank or with the payee.
There are two ways in which you can proceed once you have all the necessary information. You could personally phone your bank to let them know that you want to cancel the check, or you could log in to your bank’s website and do the cancellation from there.
Keep in mind that phoning your bank will always be a faster (and safer) option than online cancellation. It’s up to you which of these two methods you’d rather go for. We’ll explain to you how to proceed on each situation anyway.
Method 2.1: Phoning your bank
- Get in touch with your bank’s customer service
- Ask them to submit a “stop payment” order
- Pay any additional fees that may arise from this request
This is the most direct way to cancel an already emitted check. You can phone your bank directly even if you have no internet connection or access to a computer – all you need to do is keep at hand all the information that we talked about before.
Once you get in touch with someone at your bank, ask them to emit a “Stop Payment” for you. If the bank approves (and they will, most likely), the payment will be stopped. This process needs to be done quickly, as it requires that the check hasn’t been cashed yet.
Although this sounds very easy, the bank will charge you an additional fee for this service. It shouldn’t be more than 30$, but it depends on your own bank’s policies. To avoid any inconveniences in the future, try not to pre-sign your checks and keep your checkbook safe and secure from any potential thieves.
Method 2.2: Online Check Cancellation
- Log in to your online bank account
- Look for the option to stop a payment, usually located under the “customer service” section
- Enter all the information that you have on the check. You’ll usually be asked to enter the check number first
- Ask the bank to stop the payment
Most modern banks have an option online which allows a user to quickly cancel an emitted check. This process must be done before the payment is processed. This means that the payee must not have reached the bank yet, otherwise you’ll have to personally reach out to your bank and ask them to stop the process.
You can emit a “stop payment” request from your bank’s website. You’ll have to do this as quickly as possible to make sure the payee hasn’t been able to cash out the check yet. This option is generally located under the customer service tab, so you could start looking for it there.
There is a chance that your bank doesn’t offer this service online. If you don’t see the option anywhere, you’ll need to contact your bank using your phone.
Enter all the required information and simply cancel the check. You will be charged a fee for this service even if you do it online, so be ready to receive a charge on your account after doing it.
Other Valuable Information
We’ve spoken about fees and how your bank will most likely charge your for cancelling a check. This depends entirely on your bank. Some banks don’t even charge any money if you decide to cancel a payment online. This is done to encourage the usage of their online services, which saves the bank employees from wasting time in a request that could be done via their website.
You will need to submit additional paperwork if the bank requests it – and they most likely will. You have a set amount of time to do it; you will be informed of all the details by your bank.
If you do not submit any information to your bank after the stop payment order is placed, the bank will almost assuredly not honor it. Follow through with your request up to the very end, or risk being a victim of theft.
The cancellation of a flagged check should be valid for up to six months. After this time, the check should be able to be cashed again, but don’t worry: banks allow their customers to extend the cancellation time. Even then, a six-month-old check is considered as expired by most modern institutions, and they will be reluctant to cash it anyway.
Also, if you’re dealing with cash instead of checks, consider using a counterfeit money machine to count it! It will save you the trouble of dealing with fake cash.