Tips for Voiding a Check

By Emily Greenhill Pierce · June 13, 2024 · 7 minute read

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Tips for Voiding a Check

If you’re asked to void a check, which often happens when you’re setting up direct deposit, you might not be sure how to do it. Checks are being used less often these days, and as a result, people may be unfamiliar with the way they work.

Fortunately, the process of voiding a check for direct deposit or for any reason is pretty simple.

Definition of a Voided Check

First of all, what is a voided check? When you write the word “VOID” on a blank check, it becomes a voided check meaning it cannot be used to draw money out of your account. This type of check is not used for deposit or cashing purposes.

Instead, the voided check can be used to set up direct deposit or bill pay. Establishing direct deposit or online bill pay eliminates the hassle of going to the bank to make payments or deposit your paycheck. It also automates your transactions to speed delivery and help you keep tabs on the money going in and out of your account.

Recommended: Can I Use Checks with an Old Address?

How Do You Void a Check?

To void a check, all you need is a blank check and a pen. Here’s how to complete the process:

•   Take a blank check from your checkbook.

•   Grab a blue or black pen.

•   Write “VOID” in large letters across the face of the check. However, be sure not to cover the account numbers at the bottom. You could also write “VOID” in smaller letters on the payee line, amount line, in the amount box, and on the signature line, if you prefer.

•   Write down the check number, recipient, and date in your checkbook and note that the check was voided so you don’t get confused by a skipped check when you balance your checkbook.

Reasons for Voiding a Check

There are practical uses for voiding a check including setting up direct payments or deposits, and automatic bill payments. Providing a voided check is a convenient way to share your banking information for such purposes. After all, copying your banking information (routing and account number) by hand leaves you vulnerable to mistakes.

Here are the top reasons to void a check:

•   Set up direct deposit with your employer for wages, salary, or expense reimbursement. Employers often let workers set up direct deposit instead of receiving a physical paycheck, and a voided check speeds the process.

•   Set up direct deposit for government benefits. Unemployment benefits and Social Security payments may be delivered by direct deposit instead of a mailed check. This way, both parties can enjoy the increased security of a digital transaction.

•   Establish automatic bill pay for loans, utility bills, or other payments. You may have the option to set up automatic payments for bills such as an auto loan or mortgage. Setting up auto-pay helps ensure you don’t miss a payment.

•   Void checks with mistakes. If you are writing a check from your checking account and make a mistake, you can write “VOID” across it, so no one uses or deposits it.

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Voided vs Canceled Check

You may wonder what the difference between a voided and a canceled check is. When you make a void check, you are canceling a physical check you have in your possession. If you’ve lost a check (especially a blank one) or have sent out a check in error, that’s a different situation. You can contact your bank about stopping payment on the check.

When banks and credit unions talk about canceled checks, however, they are likely referring to ones that have already been used to transfer funds. The work of these checks is done, so to speak, so they are considered canceled.

The differences between a voided check and a canceled check are:

•   You can void a check yourself. To cancel a check, however, a bank or credit union has already been involved.

•   Voiding is quick and free. If you seek to cancel a check by stopping payment, it will involve time to speak to your bank, and there may be a fee charged to stop payment.

What to Expect After Voiding a Check

After you submit your voided check with the required paperwork for direct deposit, it may take a few days to complete the setup process. Typically, employers will establish the direct deposit within one or two paycheck cycles.

This is also true for government benefits like Social Security. Once direct deposit is established, you’ll know exactly when deposits will hit your account.

With direct deposit, you can use the money in your account immediately since there’s no temporary hold on deposits.

With auto-pay, funds are withdrawn from your account based on a bill’s due date. Some businesses give you a choice of dates to submit payment.

What if You Don’t Have Checks?

If you don’t have any checks, the first step to getting a checkbook is to open a new bank account. Many banks will give you pre-printed “starter checks” to use until your personalized ones arrive.

If you already have a checking account but no checks, you can contact your bank or credit union about ordering checks. They can usually be ordered online, via a mobile app, over the phone, or in person.

Alternatives to a Voided Check

Aside from a voided check, you have other options to establish autopay or direct deposit. Here are some alternatives:

•   Direct deposit form. Some employers may let you use a direct deposit form without a voided check. In this case, ensure you complete your bank information correctly.

•   Preview a check. Some financial institutions let you “preview” your checks on your bank or credit union’s website before you order them online. If your financial insulation allows this, you might be able to print out the preview and write “VOID” across it.

•   Enter bank information online. Depending on how your employer sets up direct deposit, you might have the option to connect directly to your bank account through your company’s payroll website. Just enter your bank information instead of supplying a voided paper check.

•   Request a counter check at a bank branch. You may have the option to request a “counter check” at your local bank branch. You can use this specially printed check containing your bank information for your voided check. Some banks charge a fee for this service.

The Takeaway

Knowing how to void a check is a good skill to have, and it’s part of becoming a savvy financial consumer. When you write “VOID” on a check, it becomes a voided check you can use to set up auto-pay or direct deposit. Voided checks are not available for deposit or cashing.

Once you submit your forms and voided check, employers can usually establish direct deposit within a few days. Another option is to request a “counter check” from your bank branch and void that check, though some banks may charge a fee for this service.

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How do I void a blank check?

To void a blank check, take a blue or black pen and write “VOID” across the face of the check. You could also write “VOID” in the payee line, amount line, amount box, and the signature line.

How do I void a check for direct deposit?

You void a check for direct deposit by writing “VOID” across the face of the check with a blue or black pen. Or you could fill that in on the payee line, amount line, amount box, or the signature line.

How do I void a check I’ve already sent?

You can’t void a check you have already sent. You’ll have to cancel the check. To do this, first make sure the check hasn’t cleared yet. Then, make sure you have your account number, check number, dollar amount, and date you wrote on the check. Contact your bank or credit union to stop payment. This action may require a fee.

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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

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Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

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