Voucher checks (also called check vouchers) are an extended check format that includes payment details not typically seen on a standard check. For example, a payroll voucher check allows the recipient to view taxes and other deductions from their gross pay. Voucher checks get their name from the two detachable sections (the “vouchers” or stubs) below the check itself.
A disadvantage of voucher checks is the additional clerical work required by the business issuing the check. Keep reading for more insight into how voucher checks work.
What Is a Voucher Check?
Many consumers don’t know what a voucher check is. A voucher check is a type of check variant that has detailed informational sections attached. These vouchers outline what the content and purpose of the check is. The voucher check is typically printed as a full sheet of paper, with the check at the top and the two removable vouchers below.
The payee holds on to the first voucher. Before cashing the check, the recipient will remove the remaining voucher and keep it for their records. Both parties can refer back to their vouchers in the event of a payment dispute.
It’s common for businesses to use voucher checks for employee payroll, as noted above. Payroll vouchers, also referred to as “pay stubs,” usually list deductions for taxes, insurance premiums, and other withholding items. This information can help employees better understand their pre- and post-tax income, and the breakdown of deductions.
How Do Voucher Checks Work?
Now that you know what a voucher check is, you’re probably wondering how they’re different from regular checks. For payees, voucher checks are handled the same as standard checks, with one exception: The payee should remove the voucher from the check before deposit. The voucher can be kept on file for future reference.
Anyone with a bank account can deposit a voucher check. Consumers who don’t have a bank account (about 1 in 20 Americans) can sign over a check to another recipient or try cashing the check at their local bank or credit union for a fee. As with most corporate checks, recipients should try to deposit the check within 6 months or the check may expire.
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Who Uses Voucher Checks?
As we mentioned above, voucher checks are commonly used by businesses to pay their staff or vendors. Even if a company directly deposits pay into employee bank accounts, they may choose to keep a paper trail via a voucher check.
Preparing a Voucher Check
Voucher checks (or check vouchers) may be prepared by a business’s accounts payable or payroll department, using the following steps.
• Step 1 All related documents – contracts, purchase orders, invoices, statements of accounts – are collected, either in hard copy or digitally.
• Step 2 A voucher is created that incorporates any relevant info from the backup documentation, but always includes the voucher number, bank name, payor, date, amount, and recipient.
• Step 3 The voucher is then attached to a standard written check, and both are signed by the authorized signatory.
• Step 4 Once the recipient deposits or cashes the check, the business will file its own voucher and supporting documents.
Advantages of a Voucher Check
There are important advantages associated with voucher checks, which prompts businesses to go to the extra effort. Here are some of them:
Documents Maintained in Check Voucher System
When preparing a check voucher, a business must first gather all supporting documentation. This helps keep all relevant paperwork organized and in one place. It’s not possible to maintain a check voucher system without doing this.
Records Are in Order With No Irregularities
The bookkeeping process is considerably simpler when a payroll department uses a check voucher system, because all important documents are easily accessible in one place, in hard copy or digitally. Also, check vouchers are numbered and filed in chronological order, which keeps filing systems simple.
Easier to Track Checks
Businesses commonly do not file check vouchers until the check is deposited or cashed. Only cleared checks are filed.
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Disadvantages of Voucher Checks
There are downsides associated with voucher checks that small businesses especially may want to keep in mind.
Maintenance Process Can Be Time-Consuming
Because of the additional documentation and organization requirements, it can be tedious for businesses to maintain a check voucher system.
Lack of Consumer Familiarity
Many consumers aren’t familiar with how paper check vouchers work, which can cause concerns about security. Consumers should take care to keep their vouchers private.
Check Voucher Alternatives
Some employers may choose to use the following alternative payment methods. None of these options, however, provides as extensive and organized a paper trail as check vouchers do.
• Standard checks. A simple physical check still provides some form of a paper trail. Paper checks can also be tracked digitally or via duplicate checks.
• Direct deposit. Many businesses and employees prefer the direct deposit route because of how fast and simple it is to electronically transfer the funds.
• Prepaid debit cards. This is a newer and less common payment option. Workers paid in prepaid debit cards won’t need a bank account to access their funds.
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How do you use a voucher check?
For payees, voucher checks are handled the same as standard checks, with one exception: The payee should remove the voucher from the check before deposit. The voucher can be kept on file for future reference.
What is the difference between a check and a voucher?
Voucher checks get their name from the two detachable sections (the “vouchers” or stubs) below the check itself. The voucher portion outlines the content and purpose of the check. Aside from the voucher, the check portion works like a standard paper check.
What does a voucher check look like?
A voucher check is typically printed as a full sheet of paper, with the check at the top and two removable vouchers below. The vouchers contain additional payment information that usually isn’t included on a standard check.
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