How to Void a Check: Instructions and Example
It wasn’t that long ago that all of us used checks to pay our bills and even to make payments at places like grocery stores. These days it’s just not that common to use a check. Most people use debit cards, credit cards, or cash to make payments at stores. And many people have made the switch to automatic bill pay so that they don’t have to write and send checks to pay for rent, utilities and other bills. Still, sometimes you do have to write a check, so it's important to know how to properly use them.
One things that you may need to do someday is void a check. The information in this article will teach or remind you about how to do that.
What Does it Mean to "Void" a Check?
A voided check is one that is not going to be used and shouldn’t be cashed. It is also not going to be replaced by another from the same account with the same check number.
For example, let’s say that you’re going through your checks and you void check #1300. This means that #1300 will never be cashed. You’d just move on to #1301 when writing your next check. When you void a check, you basically make it as though it never existed in so far as transactions occur.
Why Void a Check?
Now that you remember what a voided check is, you might want to think about the reasons that you would need to do this. There are a few common reasons that people void checks. These reasons include:
- There is an error on the check that would make it difficult for the person to cash it. For example, you might write the wrong date or the wrong amount by accident. You would want to void that check so that it can’t be cashed and then start over with a fresh one so that the person cashing it doesn’t have any problems.
- There is some other reason that you don’t want the person to cash this check. You may have written it out and then decided to make the payment in cash. You would void it so that they can’t cash it and that way you don’t run the risk of paying the person twice.
- You need to send a voided check to someone to set up an account. Sometimes this happens when you are interested in setting up your automatic bill pay. The company that is going to be taking funds from your account needs a copy of one of your checks to make sure that they have legitimate account and bank routing numbers for those withdrawals. You want to void the check before sending it to them so that no one can write in an amount on it and cash it.
How to Void a Check
To void a check properly, you want to write VOID on it in four different places on the check. It important to write void in all four of these places:
- In the box where you would typically write the amount of the check. If you’ve made an error here already, simply write VOID across the amount you’ve written in. If it’s blank, include VOID in the blank space.
- Across the signature line that you would normally use to sign the check. Likewise, void this either across your signature or in the blank space.
- In big letters across the front of the check. This is what most people do to void a check. You should do this; it just shouldn’t be the only thing that you do.
- In big letters across the back of the check. To make extra sure that the check gets voided, you should void the back of it as well as the front.
Most people will tell you that it’s okay to do just one or two of these things when you’re voiding a check. That’s technically true, but it’s better to take the extra precautions and void the entire thing by marking all four spots as voided. It doesn’t take much time and it’s not as if you void checks often.
Finally, you shouldn’t just void a check and forget about it. You should make a notation to yourself somewhere that a check has been voided by noting the number and the date that it was voided. Also make a note as to why you voided it. This way, if your account ends up showing that a check was used with that number, you’ll have the information that you need to show to your bank to deal with this problem. It’s highly unlikely that this would happen but it’s a smart habit to get into.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.