When you set up a direct deposit or withdraw money from your bank account, you may be asked for a voided check. Here’s how to cancel a check and the steps to consider before canceling a check
A checking account is more than just checking. Often, they can also be used to get direct deposits and automatic payments. These transactions can simplify your finances and give you more control over your deposits and withdrawals.
In some cases, you can set up automated transactions online. However, in other cases, you’ll have to fill out some paperwork and provide a voided check that includes your bank’s routing number and your account number.
What is a voided check?
Voided check is a paper check with “VOID” written on the front. If you must provide a voided check, you don’t need to ask your bank or credit union for it.
You can take a check from your supply and write “VOID” on it yourself.
The word “VOID” doesn’t have to cover the entire check, but it should be large and dark enough that the check cannot be used. Do not write bank number information on the bottom of the check.
When to use voided checks
Avoided check is most commonly used to provide banking information so that someone can electronically link it to your bank account.
If you need to provide this information, you will usually be asked for your routing number. The account number on the form is required, but also includes a copy of the voided check.
Set up direct deposit or automatic payments
If you want to make a direct deposit with your employer, you will usually need a copy of the voided check.
While you’ll be asked to provide your bank routing number and account number on the form, your employer’s human resources department may also require a copy of the voided check.
This process allows your employer to directly deposit your salary or expense reimbursement.
Payment services may also require voided checks when setting up an account.
Set up automatic loan payments
Many times, you need a voided check to set up automatic loan payments, such as mortgage payments, student loans, or auto loans. You can often get better rates by using automatic payments, so setting up automatic payments and sending a copy of the invalid check may be worth the extra effort.
Set up automatic electronic bill payment
Other types of automatic payments may also require voided checks. For example, setting up autopay for your rent, utilities, or phone bills may require a voided check if you choose to use direct debit from your bank account.
Often, the extra savings makes the extra effort worth it. For example, many insurance companies offer attractive discounts if you make automatic payments.
Authorize a government agency to directly deposit your benefits
Much like a direct deposit paycheck, you can set up a direct deposit and have benefits sent electronically to your bank account. For federal benefits, there is no additional fee for direct deposit.
You can even choose to have your direct deposit tax refunded.
Making mistakes is human, and if you make a mistake writing a check, canceling the check is often the best way to fix the mistake.
Please note, however, that checks are not valid until they change hands or are presented to the bank for payment.
If you need to cancel the payment of a check that has left your hands, you will need to contact your bank.
How to get a voided check
It’s easy to cancel a check: just take a check from your checkbook and write “VOID” in capital letters on the front.
Write in large, well-spaced letters that are tall and wide enough to cover the entire surface of the check — but not the bank information (interesting-looking numbers in computer fonts) at the bottom.
Use a dark pen or fine marker, the thicker the better. You want to make it difficult for thieves to erase or overwrite your invalid marks. Otherwise, they will receive a blank check.
You don’t need to sign the check or enter any other information.
If you don’t have a voided check on hand, there are several other options, including:
- You can ask your bank to write a “counter check” for you. This is a special type of check that can be officially voided by the bank but still includes your important account information.
- You can also ask businesses or organizations that require voided checks if they also accept voided deposit slips.
If both options fail, you may need to ask your bank to record your relevant account information. Also, notarize the letter to make sure it is printed on their official letterhead.
This is almost always a reliable approach, although circumstances rarely require you to go this route.
At the end of the day, you should have no trouble getting a voided check.
From employers to payment services to government agencies, requests to void checks are still common. However, keep your safety in mind when sharing your banking information.
If emailing your information, consider using a password-protected PDF.