The first time you reach for your checkbook, you may feel an immense sense of power.
Now, you have the ability to pay just about anyone at any point in time. At the same time, checks also come with an immense sense of responsibility.
It is important for you to make sure that you understand how to use your checkbook appropriately.
First, it is helpful for you to understand what a check is. A check is a written, dated, and signed financial instrument that directs a bank that is protecting your money to withdraw that money and send it to the person specified on the check.
Furthermore, it is also possible to either cash or deposit a check if someone has given a check to you.
This may include a personal check from another person or a paycheck that has been given to you by a company.
For example, you should make sure that you do not write a check to anyone unless you have that exact balance in your checking account.
Otherwise, your check may bounce, harming your credit score.
In this situation, it might be helpful to void a check. If you are wondering how to void a check, there are a few important points you should keep in mind.
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How To Void a Check: What Does This Mean?
Even though writing a paper check not as common as it once was, this is still a staple of our financial economy.
Despite the fact a lot of people are handling almost all of their finances online, there may be a situation where you need to write a check.
In this situation, you need to be able to do so responsibly and there may be situations where you need to void a check.
When you void a check, you essentially deem this check as being invalid.
Essentially, voiding a check means that that specific check cannot be used to make a payment or withdraw money from your bank account.
This can be incredibly important for protecting our financial security. Or, you may need to void a check to set up a direct deposit with a new employer.
When you hand someone a check, this is incredibly risky.
You are assuming that the other person is going to handle your check responsibly and that whatever bank receives your check I’m going to handle it appropriately.
As a result, if you are planning on voiding a check for any reason, it is important for you to understand how to do so properly.
How To Properly Void a Check That Is Still in Your Possession
Voiding a check is incredibly common and is used to set up direct deposit, establish bill payments, or nullify checks that have been issued incorrectly.
Even though the process is relatively straightforward, you need to make sure that you void a check properly so that the person on the other end of the transaction does not use your check fraudulently.
If you are trying to void a check that is still in your possession, some of the steps that you need to complete include:
- First, make sure that you use a pen or a marker first. Never use a pencil because someone may erase this marking and essentially erase your “voided” mark.
Then, they might be able to use your check fraudulently. Whatever writing instrument you use, you need to make sure that it cannot be obscured or erased in any fashion.
- Then, across the line that says “payee” or “pay to the order of,” you need to write “VOID” and large, capital letters so that no one can possibly misunderstand it.
Furthermore, make sure that you write this word in any area where someone might try to issue a payment to themselves.
When in doubt, write the word in the spot where you would normally write the name of the person you are trying to pay.
If you have already put someone’s name in that box, write over it with the word clearly.
- In addition, you should also write the word “VOID” in the payment amount box.
That way, nobody can write a certain amount of money in that box and try to pay themselves using your check fraudulently.
If you had already written an amount in the box, right over that amount clearly.
- Next, you should also write the word “VOID” in the signature box that is located in the bottom right-hand corner.
If you had already signed his box, strike through it with a single line so that the bank can see that you intended to cross out your signature.
- Finally, make sure that you void the check on the back as well.
You want to make sure that no one is able to deposit the check if you have already placed someone’s name or monetary amount on the check.
- Once you have done all of this, make sure that you record the void a check.
You need to make sure that you keep a record of all checks that you have issued as void in your check register or checkbook.
If you had online banking software, and make sure that you record the check as being voided there as well.
That way, you will be able to accurately track all the checks that are being issued from your account.
This is important so that you do not confuse yourself later.
These are a few of the most important steps that you need to follow in order to void a check if you still have it in your possession.
You need to make sure that you track all of your voided checks so that you can make sure that no one is trying to use your voided check fraudulently.
How To Void a Check Online or Over the Phone That You No Longer Have
If you are trying to cancel a check after you have sent it, then this is going to be a little bit more complicated.
Whether you are trying to cancel a check online or over-the-phone, some of the steps that you need to follow include:
- First, you need to make sure that you collect all of the required information. What you are going to try to do is complete an action known as a “stop payment.”
You need to make sure that you act quickly. There is a chance that you may be issued a fee by your bank for stopping a payment issued on a check.
However, if this is an emergency, the bank may be sympathetic and could be willing to waive the fee.
- You are going to have a better chance of waiving this fee if you already have all of the information.
This includes the check number, the amount the check was issued for, the date you issued the check, the person you were trying to pay, and the reason why you are stopping the payment.
In these situations, it is common to void a check over the phone. Because speed is vital, doing this over the phone is preferable.
In other situations, you may prefer to try to void a check online. Depending on your bank, you might be able to cancel check quickly for your online bank account.
Again, you need to make sure that you act quickly so that the person does not deposit the check before you have a chance to stop the payment.
For example, you may be wondering how to void a check in QuickBooks. If you are wondering how to void a check in QuickBooks desktop, some of the steps to follow include:
- First, you want to navigate to the accounting tab that is located on the menu on the left
- Then, you want to select the option that says “chart of accounts” which is located at the top
- After this, you need to find a bank account tied to the check that you are trying to void
- Once you locate this, you need to select the option that says “view register”
- Scroll down and find the number of the check that you need to void
- Highlight this check and select the “edit” button
- At the bottom of this menu, there is an option that says “more”
- Click on this option and select the “void” option
- You will need to confirm that you want to void that check
Even though it may be easier to try to void a check online, this also may take longer than speaking to a physical person at the bank.
Furthermore, if you find that the check has already been deposited or cashed, the only way that you were going to be able to reverse this is to contact the bank directly and ask for a “stop payment” order.
Again, a lot of these orders are going to incur a fee.
If you have been the victim of fraud, or if you have all of the information ready to go, you may be able to convince the bank to waive this fee on your behalf.
Why Should You Void a Check?
There are multiple ways that you can void a check.
At the same time, remember that speed is the most important asset because you want to be able to void the check before someone has a chance to cash it.
If you have made a mistake and issuing someone a check, such as writing the wrong dollar amount, you want to void it quickly before they have a chance to cash it.
In addition to stopping a check that has been issued, there are a few other situations where you might want to use a voided check to do something else.
- You Are Setting Up Direct Deposit with an Employer: When you take a new job, your job is probably going to ask you to set up something called direct deposit.
This is going to allow them to deposit money directly into your bank account instead of handing you a physical paycheck, which you might lose.
In order for them to route the money to you, they are going to need all of your account information.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a physical check, which has all of your account information on it.
Of course, you want to make sure that your employer is not going to be able to use this check fraudulently.
Therefore, you will want to void this check before you give it to them so that they can set up a direct deposit.
- You Are Setting Up Direct Payments: If you are trying to schedule regular electronic payments, you may prefer to have these payments drafted directly out of your bank account.
Even though some people like to use a credit card because they can collect rewards and they don’t have to divulge their confidential financial information, there might be a fee that comes with using a credit card.
Therefore, you may be able to use a physical check to set up direct, regular, electronic payments.
Again, you want to make sure that they cannot use this check fraudulently. Therefore, you may want to provide them with a voided check.
- You Are Establishing Regular Bill Payments: If you are trying to pay a car loan, a mortgage, or any other online bills, then you may be required to submit a voided check in order to schedule regular payments.
Make sure that you voided the check properly.
Finally, remember that it is physically impossible to void a check that you have already handed to someone else.
In this situation, you are going to need to execute an action called “stop payment” to prevent the funds from being drafted out of your account.
In order to do this, you will need to contact your bank directly and it may involve a fee.
See Related: What to Do With a Damaged, Ripped or Torn Check
What Happens If You Do Not Have Checks?
Not every checking account is going to offer physical checks.
For example, there are some accounts that may offer checklist checking instead.
If you are trying to set up regular bill payments, direct deposit, or direct electronic payments, there are other tools that you may have available to you.
Some of the other options you may be able to use if you do not have physical checks include:
- You may be able to use something called a deposit slip instead. Deposit slips should also have all of the information that the other person needs to set up these payment processes.
Usually, this includes your routing number and your bank account number.
- You might also be able to submit your banking details online.
For example, if you are trying to set up online bill payments, you may be able to do this through the online banking portal.
You might be able to do this from your computer or via the mobile application.
Then, you can set up the standard process without requiring any paper forms or voided checks.
- You can also reach out to your bank directly and ask for something called a starter check.
They might be able to print you a single starter or sample check that has your bank account number and routing number on it.
Then, you can use it for voiding purposes.
In many situations, these checks already have the word “VOID” written on them.
- Finally, if you cannot use a starter check or a deposit slip, there might be other examples of documentation that the bank can provide you that can help you set up direct deposit or direct bill payments.
For example, the bank might be able to write an official letter with their letterhead on it that contains your routing number and bank account number.
Then, you can simply use this in place of a voided check.
If you are trying to set up direct deposit payments, then a voided check is one of the easiest ways to do so.
On the other hand, there are other options that you can use as well. Reach out to your bank to learn more.
What Are the Most Common Mistakes People Make When Voiding a Check?
There are a few common mistakes that people make when they void a check. Some of the most common mistakes that people make include:
- They do not have all of the required information to void their check or conduct a stop payment action, which ends up in the check being drafted
- They do not write the word “VOID” in the right locations on the check
- They use something that can be erased, such as a pencil
- They do not record their voided check properly and mess up their financial records
It is critical for everyone to understand how to properly void a check.
This is important not only for financial record-keeping but also for setting up direct deposits and regular bill payments.