What Is a Voided Check?

Written by Jennifer PachecoUpdated: 9th Oct 2021
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Voided checks are pretty hard to miss – they’re simply a check with the word “void” written large across the front. Once a check is “void,” it cannot be cashed or accepted for payment anywhere.

Even though voided checks cannot be used to cash or grant funds, they can still be practical. Most people use voided checks to give bank information to direct deposit institutions.

For example, if your workplace does direct deposit on Fridays, you’ll likely need a voided check to confirm bank details like routing number and account number.

What Is a Voided Check?

A voided check can be a blank check, or it can have areas filled out. Often, a blank check with the word VOID across the front is used for direct deposit and bank confirmation reasons.

On the other hand, a check that is entirely filled out with the word VOID over it is a payment that was initially supposed to be made that is not valid any longer.

Reasons for voiding such a check could be that the check was made out to the wrong person, the incorrect payment amount or the funds are not available in the account.

As soon as a check is voided, no one can reverse the action. Banks cannot take any action against a void, so a check will have to be rewritten entirely if need be.

>> More: How to Void a Check

How a Voided Check Works

Frequently, voided checks are used to provide someone with correct banking information to set up direct deposits of some sort.

All the relevant details about your bank are present on a voided check, including but not limited to the location of your bank, your bank’s routing number, and your personal account number. All of those numbers will allow your employer or otherwise to deposit or withdraw funds automatically from that account.

In general, a voided check is only used to set up direct deposits and payments when a mistake is made.

>> More: How to Write a Check

Is a Voided Check the Same as a Canceled Check?

No, the two are not one in the same.

If you want to void a check, it needs to be canceled before anyone cashes or deposits it into an account.

On the other hand, a canceled check is a check that’s been cleared by the bank already. After this, the check can’t be used since it’s been cashed or deposited.

When Would You Use a Voided Check?

Again, as previously discussed, voided checks are used to establish a direct deposit, set up automatic electronic payments, and to cancel out a mistake.

Direct Deposit

If you’re using it for direct deposit, your employer is requiring or requesting that you get your paychecks electronically deposited.

Correcting a Mistake

If you’re using it to set up automatic electronic payments, you’re probably looking to have your rent and bills paid on time on their monthly due dates.

Setting Up Automatic Payments

If you’re trying to cancel out a mistake, you’ve likely added one too many 0’s to the numerical value, and you just can’t correct it. Voiding it and then shredding it is your best bet.

What Are the Requirements for a Voided Check?

The process of voiding a check is super easy. Just grab the check right out of your checkbook and use a black or blue pen to write the word VOID across the front in large letters.

These letters should be tall, wide, and spaced out across the surface area. Do your best to not tamper with the bank information at the bottom of the check, just simply get the word across the remainder of the check.

If you don’t have a black or blue pen, a thick marker will do the trick. The goal here is to make it way too hard for anyone else to erase the term VOID and cash the funds on the check.

It’s not necessary to sign the check or put any other special instructions on the front or back of the check.

>> More: How to Endorse a Check

Bottom Line: What Is a Voided Check?

The key takeaways here are to remember that a voided check requires the word VOID to be written across the front for the cancelation to be valid.

Most of the time, voided checks can be used to get the information needed to process electronic payments successfully.

Voided checks can also be used to cancel out an error or mistake in the address, numerical value, or payee name.

If you have any questions regarding a voided check, your local bank or credit union would be happy to help in any way that they can.

Be careful to always shred a voided check if it was written in error and to always give a voided check for direct deposit payment or otherwise to the appropriate head of operations.

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Jennifer Pacheco

Jennifer Pacheco attended the University of Dartmouth, Massachusetts where she earned her degree in English Writing & Editorial Work. She is a seasoned personal finance writer with over 5 years of professional work under her belt, and supplies easy-to-read information that’s educational, engaging, and conversational to help you make the most of your money.