How to Properly Void a Check

Many people have good reasons to cancel checks. They may wish to void a misspelled check. Sometimes people accidentally write the wrong amount on a check and the check needs to be voided. Sometimes, setting up direct deposit or even possible electronic bill payment requires a voided check. It’s not hard to void a check. Of course, it’s important to carefully cancel your checks to prevent anyone from fraudulently using your checks. To learn how to properly cancel a check, it’s important to keep the following tips in mind.

Cancel your property inspection

If you want to cancel a check you hold, you will need a pen. You should avoid pencils as the lead will be erased. Pen ink is permanent. The point is to use a writing instrument that uses ink that cannot be erased. Someone with the intent to defraud can easily erase your invalid token and write a check to themselves.

write “empty”

You will need to write “VOID” where you would normally write a check to the payee. Anyone who sees “VOID” on a check payee line will understand that your check is legally void, and even if the amount is listed or the check happens to be signed, it is a useless piece of paper. Correctly voided checks are no longer viable or usable. The amount is written cannot be cashed or used to pay bills.

Add “VOID” in the payment box

Even if you put an amount in the payment box, write “VOID” on it in dark ink. Writing void in the main part of your check ensures that the chances of your check being used fraudulently are as small as possible. Make sure you write the word as clearly as possible so that “VOID” doesn’t go wrong.

Don’t skip the signature box

Yes, you should of course write “VOID” again on the same line you normally sign your check. Even if you have already signed the check, be sure to write “VOID” on your signature in dark permanent ink. Many people are surprised at how long identity thieves can go to steal your money. Writing void on every major part of a check reduces the chance that someone will use it to commit fraud – and use it to steal your money.

Both sides of the check are voided

To prevent someone from finding your uncashed check and using it for nefarious purposes, you can also write “VOID” in capital letters on the front and back of the check. Some people just take the step of writing void in large letters on the front of the check. However, writing void in multiple places on the check to render it useless is an added safety.

keep a record

Of course, you should keep records of any checks you void. This is easy to do if you keep a paper record of your checks, but you can also keep a record on your online banking account. Adding a brief note also helps explain why you canceled the check. You may have written the wrong amount. You may have written your check to the wrong recipient.

Cancel direct deposit

Many times, for example, if you signed up for direct deposit from your employer, you may be asked to provide a voided check. Employers can file checks to get a copy of your bank’s routing number and checking account number. The payer needs this information to transfer money to your account.

How to Cancel Direct Deposit Checks

If you leave a voided check with your employer, you need to follow all the steps listed earlier in this list. Make sure that every major part of the check includes the word “VOID“. Instead of using any obscure pen ink, consider a Sharpie or a writing instrument that clearly states its permanent ink. This way, if your check is lost, it cannot be changed.

Void Online

You can also cancel checks online if desired. Today, most online banks allow their customers to cancel online checks with a quick “stop payment order”. Typically, you will need to log into your online checking account. You may need to visit the Customer Service section to find out how your particular bank has set up this feature. If you’re having trouble, you can always contact your bank and they can walk you through the process of stopping your payment, which essentially voids your check.

Double-check the information

If you do need to stop paying but are not sure if you are doing it right online, you should call your bank. However, make sure you have all the relevant information on hand so bank staff can help you through the process. You will need the check date, check number, and check purpose. With these tips in mind, you can successfully and safely cancel checks.

By Cary Grant

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