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Can I Use Checks With an Old Address?

By Jacqueline DeMarco · June 06, 2022 · 6 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

Can I Use Checks With an Old Address?

If you’re wondering if it’s okay to use checks with an old address, the answer is yes…most of the time.

Encountering a checkbook with your old address isn’t so unusual these days. Checks can come in handy from time to time, but many of us don’t need to use them all too often in this era of online electronic payments. Because of this, it’s easy to see how a checkbook might collect dust and the address on the checks might become outdated.

Read on to learn when it’s possible to use checks with an old address. You’ll find out:

•   Can you use a personal check with an old address?

•   Can you use a personal check with a wrong address?

•   What about business checks with an old or wrong address; are they okay to use?

•   Do checks expire?

•   How can you update checks when you move?

•   What are alternatives to using personal checks?

Can You Use a Personal Check With an Old Address?

Can you use a check with an old address? It is possible to use a check with an old address on it as long as it still has the correct routing and account numbers on it. If those numbers properly identify which bank and account the money should come from in order to pay a check, you’re good to go. That being said, it’s a good idea to let the bank know about a change of address to ensure they send statements and other important info about the account to the correct location.

If someone were to use a check with an old address on it, it can be helpful to let the recipient know about the address being wrong just in case they need to send a receipt or create any other correspondence regarding the payment via mail.

But what if the check writer got a new bank account number or the bank changed routing numbers (this can happen, for instance, when one bank merges with another)? In this situation, it is necessary to order new checks with the correct information on them. This is a great time to update the address on the check, too. Making sure a check’s routing numbers and account number are accurate is something to take seriously. If someone knowingly writes a check for an account that has already been closed, this is considered a form of fraud known as writing a bad check. Because of this, it’s a good idea to confirm check details are current and accurate whenever you move or switch banks to, say, open a new checking account.

Can You Use a Business Check With an Old Address?

It is possible to use a business check vs. a personal check that has an old address on it as long as the account number and routing number are accurate. The main difference between business checks and personal checks is that business checks can be a bit harder to deposit in a personal checking account. This however doesn’t really affect the person writing the check.

Can You Use a Personal Check With a Wrong Address?

It’s fair to wonder, is it okay if my checks have the wrong address? Whether it’s a typo or you moved, this situation definitely happens.

While writing a personal check with the wrong address on it isn’t ideal, it is possible to use one. As mentioned earlier, as long as the routing number and account number for your checking account are accurate, the check can be cashed properly. All of that being said, the check writer may want to inform the check recipient of their current correct address in case they need to mail them a receipt or any other type of communication.

Can You Use a Business Check With a Wrong Address?

As explained earlier, it is possible to write a business check with the wrong address on it as long as the routing number and account number listed on the check remain accurate. Most businesses will want to order new checks with the correct address on them to avoid confusion surrounding where their business is located and where correspondence should be directed. But they don’t need to worry if they have old checks left to use up. They should still be fine to issue.

Do Unwritten Checks Expire?

How long will a check be good for? As long as someone keeps their account open and the correct account number and routing number remain on a check, they won’t expire. However, there is still a situation to consider. If someone closes a bank account, this means the checks associated with the account become unusable. Another situation to be aware of is that bank routing numbers can change, especially when banks merge. So it’s always worth confirming if a check’s information is up to date.

When Are Checks With an Old Address Unusable?

As we mentioned, checks with an old address on them only become unusable if the routing number or account number listed on the check are inaccurate. This causes problems because these numbers are used to verify that the check is good and identify the account the money needs to be withdrawn from in order to process the check.

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Ordering New and Correct Checks

If someone needs new checks for any reason — such as a desire to update their address — these are the steps they’ll generally take to order new ones.

•   Log on to their online bank account. It’s usually possible to order checks online or via a mobile account dashboard.

•   Request a counter check. If someone is really in a rush and can’t wait for new checks to come in the mail, they can go to a local bank branch and purchase counter checks. These will have your account information on them, and they typically cost $1 or $2 per check.

•   Review terms and fees. All banks charge different fees to buy checks or a checkbook, so double check how much doing so will cost.

Changing Your Address on Checks

Can you use checks with your old address? You can.

•   If you need to change the address listed on the checks in your personal checkbook, order more checks via one of the methods previously mentioned. This can be done online or in-person at the bank.

•   An alternative would be to use stick-on address labels to cover and replace the old address that appears on your checks.

Do You Need to Write Your Address on a Check?

Checks typically have an address already printed on them. Therefore it is not necessary for the check writer to write it on the check themselves. However, some people may prefer that only their name appears on their checks. Maybe they know they’ll be moving soon, or perhaps they simply prefer this for privacy and security reasons. If you do need to write your address on a check that doesn’t have your address:

•   Use blue or black pen

•   Print your new address under your name at the upper lefthand corner of the check

•   See if the business or merchant wants your phone number as well; this is a fairly common request so they can reach you if necessary. An altered check may not inspire complete confidence.

Do Checks Need an Address?

Checks do not need to have an address printed on them. However, if you choose to omit an address (say, because you know you’ll likely be moving soon), some businesses may hesitate to accept the check. They might ask for a form of ID or a phone number in case they need to contact you.

Alternatives to Personal Checks

If someone doesn’t want to write a check for whatever reason, these are some of their alternative payment options.

Money Orders

It’s possible to buy a money order from the post office and other select locations. Money orders are a very quick form of payment, and can cost less than $2 in fees.

Cashier’s Checks

A cashier’s check, which usually costs a small fee, can be bought at the bank and is a check that is guaranteed by the bank. It will usually require a visit to the bank to get one, though.

P2P Money Transfer Apps

Here’s a very convenient payment option: P2P money transfer apps — like Venmo — that allow users to instantly transfer cash electronically to an individual as long as they have enough money in their bank account. These may be free to use or can involve a small fee (a percentage of the transaction) depending on a few variables. (Sometimes e-checks, or electronic checks, are a payment option for utilities and other accounts. While not a P2P app, they do allow for a seamless transfer of funds.)

The Takeaway

As long as the routing and account numbers on the check are accurate, it’s possible to use a check with an old, incorrect address on it. That said, it’s a good idea to order new checks with the correct address on them to help lessen any confusion the wrong address might cause with check recipients. Having all your details correct can help make banking as simple as possible.

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FAQ

Does it matter if the address on my check is wrong?

If you’re wondering, “Can I use old address checks?” here’s the answer: It is possible to use a check with a wrong address on it. The key is to make sure the routing number and account number is still accurate on the check before using it.

Can you cash a check with an incorrect address?

Cashing a check without the correct address on it is possible. Just make sure the recipient knows the writer’s current address in case they need to contact them.

Do checks need an address?

Checks commonly have an address on them, but it’s not a requirement. If you are using a check without an address, the business or service you are playing may require some additional ID or info.


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