Voiding a check allows you to share the account details printed on it, including your routing number, without having to worry that someone will cash it. And there are several situations when you may need to do so.
You may need to void a blank check to set up a direct deposit or other automatic bill payments such as a monthly mortgage payment. The party requesting the check will then set up an electronic link to your bank account.
In this article we cover how to write a void check, why to void a check and what to do if you don’t have a voided check for direct deposit or payments.
How to void a check
To void a check, write in clear, block letters the word “VOID” across its face. Use a pen or felt-tip pen using permanent ink to prevent someone from erasing the word ‘void’. You’ll want to avoid writing over the numbers displayed at the bottom of the check. These contain your account information, which will be used by whoever is requesting the voided check.
When you write “VOID” on the check, no one can use it. It simply becomes a non-negotiable piece of paper containing your bank routing number and your bank account number. Here’s an example of a voided check:
It’s advisable that you take a picture of the voided check. This way, you can keep it as a record to know how you used it. But you can also print the image and use it again when you next need to use a voided check.
After you voided the check, note its number and keep track of it in your check register. It’s an additional way to keep a record of it, should you need to go back and review your account activity.
How to void a check for direct deposit
When you land a new job, sometimes your employer will request a voided check to make a direct deposit to your bank account. It doesn’t matter if you bank at places like Chase, Wells Fargo or Bank of America, for example. The procedure is virtually the same. Follow these simple steps:
- Void a blank check from your checkbook, as explained above
- Fill out the direct deposit authorization form provided by your employer
- Submit the voided check together with the completed form
Why to void a check
Sometimes, when filling out physical forms to set up recurring bank transactions, a third party will ask you to include a blank check. Whenever a company asks you for a blank check, you should immediately think “voided check.”
You don’t want to send a blank check even if the other party is a trusted one. Void the check to prevent unauthorized individuals from using it to get cash from your bank account.
If you start writing a check and make a mistake, but you don’t want to destroy it, then void it. As an additional precaution, rip out its signature block.
What if I don’t have a voided check for direct deposit?
What if you’ve ran out of checks, or don’t have a checking account? In that case, there are alternative ways to set up a direct deposit without a voided check.
One alternative is to go to your nearest bank branch and request a printed check. You’ll need to have an account with the bank and be ready to pay a fee. Banks call these “counter checks.”
You can also inquire with the party requesting the voided check whether there’s an online system you can use to set up your direct deposit. If that’s your employer, contact their payroll office and ask whether you can complete the process using a secure website.
Alternatively, visit your bank’s online portal, log on to your account and download their direct deposit form. You can find out if they offer this service by searching for “direct deposit form” and your “bank name.” If it’s available, you may need to fill out additional information such as your:
- Employer’s name and address
- Bank account number
- Routing or ABA number
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