Most people never write checks anymore, but there are certain times when checks are still a necessary evil.
One of those times is when someone requests a voided check.
Another time you’ll need to know how to write a void check is when you’re filling out a check and make a mistake.
If no one ever taught you how to write a void check, you’re in luck. Voiding a check is super easy to do.
We’ll explain how and why you may need to write a void check and other options you may be able to use if you don’t have any checks to void.
Need to write a different type of check? Here are a few check writing guides we have for you to use.
- How To Write A Check For Over A Thousand Dollars
- How To Write Out A Check With Dollars And Cents
- How To Write A Check With Zero Cents
- Writing A Check To Cash Isn’t Good And How To Write It Anyway
How To Write A Void Check
Voiding a check is a pretty straightforward process. The most common way to void a check is to write VOID in large capital letters that cover the entire check.
This method of how to write a void check works best for checks where you’ve made a mistake and want to write a new check with the correct information on it. It’s important to note, you can only void a check that has not yet been cashed.
Make sure that you write with a permanent ink pen so someone can’t unvoid your check like they could with a pencil or erasable pen.
If you want to really make sure the check is void, you can also write “VOID” on the date line, pay to the order of line, in the $ box, on the dollars line, in the memo field and on the signature line.
This option works best on a check which you haven’t filled in any of the fields yet. These types of void checks are often used to gather your bank account information.
Reasons To Write A Void Check
There are two main reasons you’ll need to know how to write a void check. The first is when you’re writing a check and make an error.
Why You Should Void Checks With Mistakes Or Corrections
Rather than correcting the error on the check, it’s better to void, or cancel, the check completely and write a new check with the correct information on it.
Banks prefer you write a new check so there is no doubt about the corrected information as well as if the correction was made by the person writing the check.
Accurately Give Your Account Information To Necessary Parties
Another reason you may write a voided check is to give your bank account information to others.
While you usually don’t want to give your bank account information away, a voided check is often necessary to set up direct deposits or automatic payments.
Companies like your employer will use the account number and routing number written on the bottom of each check to set up a direct deposit of your paycheck in to your bank account.
This usually means you’ll get paid faster, which is awesome for you.
Other companies, such as your utility company or credit card company, may request a cancelled check to set up automatic payments on your account.
Automatic payments make life easier so you never forget to make a payment on a bill and end up with a late fee.
But Why Not Just Ask For My Account Number And Routing Number?
If your employer and companies you want to use auto pay with simply need your bank account number and routing number to set up these payments, why do they ask for a voided check?
Using a voided check to gather this information usually results in the fewest errors.
It’s easy to mistype a number or it may be hard to read someone’s sloppy handwriting if someone just gives you an account and routing number.
Additionally, some people have no clue what their bank account or routing numbers are or how to read them off of a check, either.
Alternatives To Writing A Void Check
So what should you do if you don’t have checks? Many people simply use debit or credit cards and cash for all of their transactions and don’t even have a check they can void.
Depending on how flexible the company requesting your information is, one of these alternatives may work.
- Simply send your bank account and routing number. If you don’t know them, head into your bank and ask or call the customer service phone number.
- Provide a preprinted deposit slip that has your account and routing number on it.
- Print off a fake voided check from your bank’s website with your information on it. Some online only banks offer this.
- Print off your bank’s direct deposit form.
- Fill out the bill pay company’s auto draft form.
As you can see, voiding a check is easy if you have one. Usually, you just need to void a check to make your life easier when setting up automatic payments or direct deposit.
However, if you need to void a check with an error, make sure you very clearly mark it void so it cannot be cashed.
If you have any other questions about how to write a void check, please let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to address them directly.
Lance Cothern, CPA holds a CPA license in Indiana. He’s a personal finance, debt and credit expert that writes professionally for top-tier publications including U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Investopedia, Credit Karma, Business Insider and more.
Additionally, his expertise has been featured on Yahoo, MSN, USA Today, Reader’s Digest, The Huffington Post, Fast Company, Kiplinger, Reuters, CNBC and more.
Lance is the founder of Money Manifesto. He started writing about money and helping people solve their financial problems in 2012. You can read more about him and find links to his other work and media mentions here.