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Voided checks are generally good for one of three reasons:
- Setting up automatic bill payments
- Setting up direct deposits
- Reversing an error or check mistake
The voided check is used to link your bank account and the payment service electronically for setup reasons.
For reversing reasons, it’s best to void the check and then shred it to avoid any margin of error – or anyone cashing/depositing funds that have no right to that money.
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How to Void a Check (Step-by-Step)
Voiding a check is absolutely valid and can be done in an easy step-by-step process. The main idea to understand here is that you must write the word VOID in large letters across the front of the check.
You should be aware of a few other things when following through with this process, though. Follow these steps to learn more.
#1. Grab a blank check.
If you’re setting up direct deposits or automatic bill payments, start with a blank check. Don’t write any information on any of the lines on the front of the check – that won’t be necessary. Just rip out a blank check from your checkbook and move on to the next step.
#2. Void the check.
Next, grab a black or blue pen and write the word VOID across the front of the check in large letters.
These letters should be large enough to cover the entire surface area of the front of the check, but they should not block out your bank address, routing number, or your personal account number.
This step will help stop anyone from taking the check, filling it out, and cashing or depositing the funds.
#3. Make a copy.
Last, make a copy of the voided check for security reasons. Send the copy and keep the original for future direct deposit or automatic payment account setup.
Note: If you have to void a check because it was filled out incorrectly in some way, follow step 2 for voiding purposes. Then, shred the check immediately after so no one can salvage it.
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Why Would You Void a Check?
Voiding a check is a popular practice if you need to share your banking information with someone to set up an electronic account like direct deposit through your employer.
With the word VOID across the front of the check, the person setting up the account has access to the banks’ address, routing number, and personal bank account for financial reasons.
Voiding a check also covers your back as a safety precaution if you’ve written it out wrong, put the wrong dollar amount in the box, or simply don’t need the check to go out to the payee anymore.
Plus, writing the word VOID across the entire front will allow you to look back on that check, knowing who you wrote it to and why it’s no longer valid.
Set Up Direct Deposit
Nowadays, many people prefer direct deposit payments through their employers, especially considering they don’t have to go to a bank and deposit funds; the money is there on payment day that morning, automatically.
Often, a voided check is needed to set up this kind of account.
>> More: What Is Direct Deposit?
Schedule Electronic Payments
Another thing that most people do is set up recurring payments electronically, which requires the use of a voided check, too.
Specifically speaking, loans and utility bills are easier to maintain with automatic electronic payments.
When the day comes that the payment is due, the funds will automatically be deducted from the bank account it’s set up with.
To Correct a Mistake
Sometimes, a check is filled out the wrong way. Maybe the name of the payee is filled out incorrectly.
Maybe the amount is off by a certain amount. Maybe the date is irrelevant. Whatever the case may be, you can void the check-out and start over.
What to Do If You Don’t Have Checks
Modern times are quickly transitioning people and pushing them away from checks, more towards debit and credit cards.
So, if you don’t have access to a checkbook, there are a few other things you can look into.
#1. Set up a direct connection with your bank account.
Some businesses and employers are now accepting a direct connection to bank accounts instead of using a voided check. That would require you to submit your bank’s routing number and your personal account number.
#2. Go on your bank’s website and check out a preview of a check.
Most banks allow you the privilege of ordering checks online vs. in person. If you have that ability, go on your bank’s website and go to “check preview” before pressing the buy/submit button.
In some cases, you can print this preview out and then write VOID on it. It may not work every time, but it’s worth a shot.
#3. Request a “counter check” from your local bank.
You don’t always need to have an entire checkbook handy; if you don’t have access to a checkbook, just ask your local branch if they can give you a “counter check.”
They’ll give you a single check that you can use for voiding purposes. There may be a small fee, so check in when you talk to the branch teller or manager.
>> More: How to Endorse a Check
How Do I Void a Blank Check?
Voiding any kind of check requires the same process. Just write VOID in large letters across the front of the check – but be sure not to cross out the bank’s routing number or your personal account number. Always keep the original for your records, make a copy, and send the copy along.
How Do I Void a Check for Direct Deposit?
Start with a blank check, as the process states above. Then, write VOID across the front in large letters.
Do not cover the routing or account numbers because your employer will need these to ensure your paycheck makes it to the right account.
Again, the best way to follow through with this process would be to make a copy, send the copy to your employer, and keep the original.
How Much Does it Cost to Void a Check?
It’s absolutely free to void a check, all it takes is the word VOID by a blue or black pen, and you’re in the clear.
Bottom Line: How to Void a Check
All in all, just make sure you do the voiding correctly, with large letters and a dark blue or black pen. Black markers will do the trick, too.
Don’t cover any important numbers that may be needed in the setup process, and always shred mistake checks that are voided immediately after.