Voided Check: All You Need to Know

A voided check is a term used to describe a check that has the word “void” written across it. It’s a self descriptive term and it means that the check in question can’t be accepted as a valid mode of payment. However, the information on the check can be utilized to extract the information needed to conduct electronic payments. In this post, we will take a quick look into the world of voided checks so that you can get a better idea of the concept. Let’s get started.

Voided Check: What is it and how can you use it?

How does a Voided Check work?

A voided check’s main use is providing banking information. This helps others set up an electronic link with your bank account. A voided check is demanded because it features many details about your bank account printed on it. Some of the information that it contains include:

  • Where you bank (or which credit union you use)
  • Your bank account number
  • A code that identifies your bank (called a routing number)

When do you need a Voided Check?

The numbers that can be found at the bottom of the check contain all the information needed to withdraw/deposit funds. Here are some scenarios where you might be required to use a voided check:

  • Direct deposit: If your salary is transferred electronically, you need to provide your account information in order for the money to come to the right place. A voided check helps the employer get this information in a simple and accurate way.
  • Setting up payments: In case you want to stop the system of writing checks for covering expenses such as rent, mortgage, and insurance, you will need to provide a voided check in order to start automatic electronic payments. Based on how you set things up, funds can be automatically deducted from your account every month. You can also choose to set up each payment by yourself.
  • Mistakes: In case you are writing a check to make some payment and you make a mistake  (wrong payee or amount, for example), void or destroy it. That check can’t be used for anything else and a half filled check is a dangerous thing to keep around. After you void the check, mark it in your check register so that you are aware of where the check went.

What are the requirements for a Voided Check?

Voiding a check is quite simple. All you need to do is take a check and write “VOID” across it. Make sure it’s written in large letters and not small ones. Make sure that the letters are large and well spaced that are tall and wide enough to cover the whole face of the check without obscuring the banking information at the bottom. Don’t write using a pencil or a pen with a light coloured ink. Use a dark ink pen or a permanent marker. When you write VOID on a check, nobody else should be able to erase it. You don’t have to sign the check for it to be voided.

If you don’t have a check to void in your possession, there are several other options:

  • Ask your bank for a counter check. This can be printed by a bank on demand. You will have to pay a small fee for getting a counter check.
  • Also check to find out if pre printed deposit slip for a checking or savings account is acceptable
  • Enquire if a letter from your bank can be accepted.

When you give a voided check, the recipient copies your banking information from it and enters it into their systems. The voided check is then put through a shredder and the information can’t be accessed by anyone. In most cases, just a copy of your voided check will be enough, you won’t necessarily need to provide the original version.

What are some alternatives to a Voided Check?

You don’t have to always provide a voided check in order to set up electronic payments. The two main reasons why companies ask for printed documentsPresumably, companies ask for a printed document because:

  • It reduces the chances of error.
  • It reduces the chances of fraud.

However, these days, a lot of customers tend to provide their account details online without any issue, that has led to decline in the prevalence of voided checks. For example, online banks also allow you to type the details yourself and link your external accounts. Billers, such as utility companies, also accept payments by echeck when customers input their checking account information. A few businesses might even accept payments across the phone. This allows buyers to share their information in a verbal manner. 

So that was a brief look in the world of voided checks. Hopefully you have a better idea of what they are and where you can use them.

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