When you set up a direct deposit or set up withdrawals from your bank account, you may be asked for a voided check. Here’s how to void a check and the steps to consider before voiding a check
Checking accounts aren’t all about checks. Typically, they can also be used to get direct deposits and make automated 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. In other cases, though, you’ll have to fill out some paperwork and provide a voided check, which contains your bank’s routing number and your account number on it.
What is a Voided Check?
A voided check is a paper check that has the word “VOID” written across the front of it. If you have to provide a voided check, you don’t have to request one from your bank or credit union.
You can just detach 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 big enough and dark enough so that the check cannot be used. Don’t write over the banking number information at the bottom of the check.
When to Use a Voided Check
A voided check is most often used to provide banking information so that somebody can set up an electronic link with your bank account.
If you need to provide this info, you’ll often be asked to include your routing number. The account number on a form is needed but also to include a copy of a voided check.
Set up Direct Deposit or Auto-pay
If you want to set up a direct deposit with an employer, you’ll usually need a copy of a voided check.
While you’ll be asked to provide your bank routing number and account number on a form, your employer’s human resources department will probably need a copy of a voided check as well.
This process allows your employer to deposit your paycheck or expense reimbursements directly.
Payment services may also require a voided check when setting up an account.
Set up Automated Loan Payments
Many times, you’ll need a voided check to set up automated loan payments such as mortgage payments, student loans, or auto loans. Often you can earn a better rate by using automatic payments, so it may be worth the extra effort of setting up autopay and sending a copy of a voided check.
Other types of automatic payments may also require a voided check. For example, setting up autopay for your rent, utility bills, or phone bills may require a voided check if you choose to use direct debit from your bank account.
Often, extra savings make the extra effort worthwhile. For example, many insurers offer an attractive discount if you make automatic payments.
Authorize a Government Agency to Direct Deposit Your Benefits
Much like with a direct deposit paycheck, you can set up direct deposit and have your benefit payments sent to your bank account electronically. For federal benefits, there’s no extra charge for direct deposits.
To err is human and if you make a mistake when writing a check, voiding the check is often the best way to fix the error.
Be aware, however, that voiding a check happens before the check has changed hands or is presented for payment at a bank.
If you need to cancel payment on a check that has already left your hands, you’ll need to contact your bank.
How to Get a Voided Check
Voiding a check is easy: just grab a check out of your checkbook, and write “VOID” across the front in large letters.
Write with large, well-spaced letters that are tall and wide enough to cover the whole face of the check – but don’t cover the banking information at the bottom (the funny-looking numbers in computer font).
Use a dark pen or fine marker, the thicker, the better. You want to make it difficult for thieves to erase or cover your void mark. Otherwise, they’ll have a blank check.
You don’t need to sign the check or enter any other information.
If you don’t have a check to void in your possession, there are several other options, including:
You can ask your bank to draw you up a “counter check”. It’s a special type of check that can be officially voided by the bank but still includes your important account information.
You might also ask the business or organization requesting a voided check if they would accept a deposit slip that has been voided as well.
If both of these options fail you might want to ask the bank to record your pertinent account information. Also, notarize the letter, making sure it’s printed on their official letterhead.
That’s almost always a solid approach, though circumstances will rarely dictate you have to go down that road.
At the end of the day, you shouldn’t have any trouble at all getting your hands on a voided check.
From employers to payment services, to government agencies, requests for voided checks are still common. However, keep your own security in mind when sharing banking information.
Consider using a password-protected PDF if sending your information by email.
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