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How To Void a Check the Right Way

Voiding a check helps ensure others can’t cash or deposit money from your account. Because checks have important bank information on them, it’s important to make sure they’re voided correctly when you don’t want them being used. 

What Is a Voided Check?

A voided check is simply a check that can no longer be used to make a payment or withdraw money from your checking account. A voided check has the word “VOID” written across the front of it. 

Steps to Voiding a Check

Voiding a check is simple and only requires a pen or marker, and the check you’d like to void. To void a check, you should: 

  • Step 1: Use a blue or black pen or marker that cannot be erased
  • Step 2: Write “VOID” in large letters across the front of the check 
  • Step 3: Cover as much of the check as possible with your writing, without covering up the routing or bank account number at the bottom of the check 
  • Step 4: Keep a record of the voided check by noting the check number
  • Step 5: Determine if you should make a copy of the voided check for future use

If you are using a voided check to set up direct deposit or automatic bill payments, make sure the account number and routing number are still visible. The person using your voided check will need that information to connect your bank account. 

If you keep a check register, make note of which checks you void. Each check is numbered to help you keep track of each transaction. 

Voided Check Example

Voided check example

When writing “VOID” on a check, remember not to cover up the routing or bank account number at the bottom. These numbers are necessary for identifying your bank account to send or receive payments.

Why Would I Need to Void a Check?

There are several reasons why you might need to void a check. You may want to make sure no one else uses it, or, you may need to present a voided check for someone to access and confirm your banking information. 

You Made a Mistake or You Already Used It

You should void a check if you make a mistake. You may have written down the wrong amount, addressed it to the wrong person, or dated the check incorrectly. This will keep others from using the check.

A lot of banking apps now offer mobile check deposits. This means you can snap a picture of your paper check and deposit it into your account, right from your phone. Many checks have a checkbox to mark off after mobile deposit. However, you should also void the check after it has already been deposited to keep others from trying to use it if it gets lost or stolen. 

You’re Setting Up a Payment Account

Some financial institutions require you to provide a voided check to process your banking information. You may need to present a voided check to: 

  • Set up a direct deposit
  • Set up automatic bill payments 
  • Set up automatic loan payments 
  • Confirm banking information
  • Keep record of transactions

If you’re setting up multiple direct deposits or billing accounts, it may be helpful to create a copy of your voided check. Then, you don’t have to keep pulling checks from your checkbook. 

To Help Combat Check Fraud

Voiding a check that should not be in use can also help prevent check fraud. Check fraud can be several different illegal activities. Examples include stealing checks, altering checks, and signing someone else’s name. 

By voiding a check, it can no longer be used as payment or to withdraw money. That way, you’re helping protect yourself if your check falls into the wrong hands. 

Some mobile banking apps allow you to quickly identify and block fraudulent activity. Chime gives you transaction alerts and allows you to disable your Chime debit card, all right within the app.

How Do I Dispose of Old Checks?

If you want to get rid of a voided check, the safest method is to shred it. If you don’t have a paper shredder, you can use scissors to cut up the check. Make sure you cut directly through your name, account number, signature, and other important details. 

If you’re unable to or don’t want to dispose of your own checks, many banks will do it for you. 

How Many People Still Use Checks?

If you don’t have a voided check, there are other ways you may be able to set up direct deposit. 

  • Ask your bank if they can print you a voided check (there may be a small fee)
  • See if your bank has pre-filled direct deposit forms available for you to use instead 
  • Look into a direct deposit authorization form through your employer
  • Check if your employer would accept a deposit slip or photocopy of a check

Requirements often vary depending on the workplace. Some companies may require a voided check to set up direct deposit, while others may be able to work with you to find other alternatives. The main goal is to ensure your paychecks are going to the correct account. 

Setting Up Direct Deposit Without a Voided Check

If you don’t have a voided check, there are other ways you may be able to set up direct deposit. 

  • Ask your bank if they can print you a voided check (there may be a small fee)
  • See if your bank has pre-filled direct deposit forms available for you to use instead 
  • Look into a direct deposit authorization form through your employer
  • Check if your employer would accept a deposit slip or photocopy of a check

Requirements often vary depending on the workplace. Some companies may require a voided check to set up direct deposit, while others may be able to work with you to find other alternatives. The main goal is to ensure your paychecks are going to the correct account. 

Voiding a Check FAQs

Below are some commonly asked questions about voiding a check.

How do I get a voided check?

You can ask your bank to print a voided check, likely for a small fee. You may also use a free online bill-pay service to send yourself a small check (for as little as 1 cent), then void the check once it’s been deposited.

How do I void a blank check?

Voiding a blank check is the same as voiding a filled-out one. Simply write “VOID” in large letters across the entire check. Once you’ve done this, no one will be able to deposit the check.

Why would I void a check?

You may need a voided check to set up a bank account, direct deposit, or automatic bill payment. You may also decide to void a check if you filled it out wrong or completed a mobile deposit and want to make sure it can’t be used again. 

What can someone do with a voided check?

A voided check still shows information about you and your bank account. It will likely have your name, address, bank name, account number, and routing number. If someone has your voided check, they will be able to see and use all of this information. 

Why do employers ask for voided checks?

Employers might ask for a voided check to set up direct deposit. This allows them to enter all of your account information and confirm that your paycheck is going into the correct account.

​​Final Thoughts

With the rise of online and mobile banking, paper checks aren’t as common as they once were. However, they are still in use, so it’s important to know how to properly fill them out, use them, and get rid of them. If you decide to use a check, make sure you know the right way to void it to ensure you, and your money, are safe.

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