A voided check has the word “VOID” written across it, indicating that it cannot be used for payment. Voiding a check ensures it won't be used by anyone, such as thieves who may write in a large amount for themselves. Then, it can provide key information like your routing number and account number to be used in electronic transactions.
You may need to void a check when you make an electronic financial transaction. A voided check includes banking information required to ensure correct electronic banking transactions for people who pay bills online and or are paid via direct deposit.
- A voided check may be necessary to set up direct deposits, automated clearing house (ACH) transfers, or electronic bill payments.
- Voiding a check means it can’t be used to make a payment or withdraw money from your checking account.
- The word "void" should be visible on both sides of a voided check and written in large letters.
- In lieu of a voided check, you may be able to use other documents like a deposit slip.
How to Void a Check
Voiding a check is important to preventing others from making withdrawals on your account. Here's how to do it correctly:
- Use a blue or black permanent pen.
- Write “VOID” in large letters across the front of the check, or write “VOID” in smaller letters on the date line, payee line, amount line, and signature line, as well as in the amount box.
- Make a copy of the voided check for your records, noting the check number. Ensure the word "VOID" appears on your duplicate check as well, if you are using duplicate checks.
Don’t cover up the routing or bank account number at the bottom of the check when voiding it. Those numbers are necessary for identifying your bank account to send or receive payments.
Never give anyone a blank check, especially someone you do not know because it could be used to make a withdrawal on your account. Treat checks as carefully as you would treat cash.
Reasons for Using a Voided Check
- To set up direct payments: Voiding a check may be necessary if you want to schedule electronic payments, either for personal use or if you run a business. For example, if you have a business and your vendors prefer to be paid electronically, then voiding a check may be part of the process to set up automatic payments.
- For direct deposit: Direct deposit can help you get paid faster, but your employer needs certain information from you to get it started, including your bank account number and bank routing number. Voiding a check is a simple way to provide those details.
- Regular bill payments: If you want to pay your mortgage, car loan, or other bills online, then you may have to submit a voided check to schedule payments from your checking account.
You may need to void a check if you wrote a check and made a mistake. If you write the wrong dollar amount, then you’d have to void the check to keep anyone from cashing it or depositing it.
You can’t void a check once you’ve given it to the payee. The only way to stop the check from being cashed or deposited is to request a stop payment from your bank, which may involve a fee.
What If You Don’t Use Checks?
Not every checking account offers checks. Chase, for example, offers checkless checking accounts.
If you have a checking account that doesn’t offer checks, you can try these options for setting up direct deposit or electronic payments:
- Use a deposit slip: Deposit slips should also have your routing number and bank account number, and this could be an option if your bank offers them. In many cases, a voided check is not necessary as the bank or business will provide a direct deposit form that asks for the key information.
- Submit banking details online: If you’re trying to set up online bill payments, you may be able to do that through your online banking access, with no voided checks or paper forms required.
- Get other documentation from the bank: If you can’t use a deposit slip or starter check, your bank may be able to provide you with an official letter with your routing and account number that you could use in place of a voided check.
Why Do Companies Need a Voided Check?
Employers often use voided checks to set up direct deposits for their payroll, and service providers may need them to set up direct debits. This is because a blank check has all the information they need, such as routing or account numbers. Using a voided check reduces the likelihood of a transcription or other type of error.
Can I Deposit a Voided Check?
You cannot deposit a voided check. If you deposit a voided check in an ATM, it may be briefly accepted. But once the error is identified, the cleared funds will then be removed from the recipient's bank account and returned to the original owner and a fee may be charged. If a voided check clears, customers can file a claim when they receive their statement.
How Do You Void a Check in QuickBooks?
You can easily void a paycheck or other payment through QuickBooks or other accounting software. In QuickBooks, you can do this by finding the payment under "Expense Transactions" and selecting the action "Void." The process will be similar to other accounting programs, and you can generally find specific instructions through the Help menu.
The Bottom Line
Voiding a check can be a key step in setting up financial transitions like regular payroll direct deposits. Voiding a check properly by writing "VOID" in large letters on the documents will help reduce the risk that the check will be cashed. In lieu of a voided check, you may also be able to provide documents such as a direct deposit slip that can provide the key financial information for the transition.