I get it, right about now you're screaming “It is 2021! Why do I need a voided check?!”
For whatever reason, the mental gumption it takes to find your checkbook, pull out a check, write void across the front, scan/mail it, and do whatever else some online bill payment system requires is tiresome.
But if you reread my last sentence that is all a voided check really. It is a once usable check that is no longer usable simply because you wrote in big letters the word VOID on it.
Keep reading below to learn:
- What a voided check is
- How to make a voided check
- Occasions when you might need to void a check
What is a Voided Check?
See this illustration below? This is an example of a voided check.
The reason why some companies require a voided check is to verify the checking account you are using is yours for setting up direct deposits, payments, etc. On the bottom left of your check is the routing number and account number – this is the info they're after!
The act of voiding a check simply means you are making a check unusable in that it can no longer be used as a form of payment. The actual steps to voiding a check is extremely simple and most of the time you need to do this when setting up a payment online or for automatic withdrawals.
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How to void a check:
Ready to see how simple it is to get a voided check?
- Get a blue or black pen
- Go to your checkbook and go to the next available check
- Write the four-letter word VOID across the front
- Be sure to avoid writing over the pertinent account info. Do not write over your name, address, routing number, or account number.
- Keep or make a copy for your records.
What if you don't have a checkbook?
In the event you don't have any checks on hand, you can always do one of the following to help you with providing a voided check:
- Visit your local bank and ask for a counter check. This can sometimes cost a fee, nothing crazy though. You might have to pay $1 for two checks.
- See if you can verify your checking account online without needing a voided check. Many companies are moving this route as traditional banking styles are becoming more outdated
- Request starter checks from your bank if you are all out of checks!
- You can also learn how to print checks!
When do I need a voided check?
Typically, you will only need a voided check when you are setting up online payment and the company involved needs to verify your checking information. The most common reasons you will be asked to void a check include:
- To Setup Direct Payments 📲: Perhaps you need to send money regularly to others or you own a business and your vendors require monthly payments. Regardless of why sometimes direct payment forms will require a voided check!
- Regular Bill Payments 📨: Sometimes if you want to pay your mortgage, car, or other bills online a payment processing system may require you to use a voided check to get everything set up!
- Direct Deposit 💵: As it presents itself today, most companies will pay you with direct deposit. In that case, some may require a voided check as part of the onboarding process for depositing your pay directly into your account. They need your bank account info and a voided check provides it all.
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Do you really need to VOID checks?
When a company requires you to void a check to setup a payment, it that case you will need to void it.
Sometimes, once you have deposited a check or perhaps you wrote a check incorrectly, traditional banking wisdom says you should VOID the check. This is to prevent the check from landing in the wrong hands and really just a preventative measure.
✔It isn't a bad idea to write VOID before tossing, especially in the day of online banking (see more below).
Online Banking & Voided Checks:
If you are like most people who rely on online banking, you might be familiar with depositing checks online. Technically, once you deposit a check using your banking app on your smartphone, you are supposed to void the check.
While this is certainly not required, it is a good best practice in case the check somehow ended up in the wrong hands. Some checks now have a box where you mark that you have deposited the check online, others still recommend voiding the check.
As someone who gets a few checks a month as business owner, I typically like to hold on to the check to make sure it clears. I will often write VOID after a check clears, then dispose the check 30 days later.
Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $300,000 in student loans with his wife in less than five years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and many more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their newborn son, their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, being outside, traveling, and helping others with their finances! In case you were wondering, Josh uses Personal Capital to track his net worth and his first investment account ever was an Acorns account 😎