515 N Flagler Dr Ste P300, West Palm Beach FL 33401-4326
For personal assistance, call
Get Started

What is the purpose of a voided check?

There are dozens of different reasons why you may need to learn how to void a check like applying for an unsecured business loan or setting up direct deposit with your employer.

The most purpose in pretty much every case is to provide critical banking information to an individual or an organization so they can establish a direct link to that account. 

This can be because you are looking to make an ACH or Wire payment to someone’s account or to receive an ACH or wire into your bank account.

Every check (official check, anyway) includes a couple of key pieces of data that can be used by individuals and organizations to send or request money directly from your account.

In a world where electronic and online banking is so commonplace, it’s essential that you know how to void a check and how to use it to establish said link.

However, it’s just as important that you know how to do so safely, securely, and while maintaining as much of your personal and private information as possible.

In this quick guide, we’ll show you exactly how to void a check, how to confirm that the voided check you have created is safe to be shared with others, and how to monitor your account to verify that your personal, private, and banking information hasn’t been “hijacked”.

First, let’s get the obvious question out of the way: what is a voided check?

What is a voided check, anyway?

In the most straightforward terms possible, a voided check is simply an official check from your checkbook or banking institution that has had the word “VOID” written clearly (and in large print) all the way across the front of the check– particularly across the name, address, and payment blanks that you usually fill it in.

The process of writing VOID across your check essentially “disables” the check so that it cannot be used as legal tender any longer, but it still allows the electronic banking information contained within to be used by individuals or organizations looking to connect to your bank account.

The process of figuring out how to void the check by writing VOID clearly across it guarantees that anyone the check might be handed to cannot simply fill in the blanks and draw money from your account.

Any bank teller (even those working the first hour of their first shift) will understand that the check itself is anything but legitimate and you will have nothing to worry about.

We’ll break down the simple instructions for voiding a check properly in a moment.

But first, let’s touch on the reasons why you might need to void a check.

Why would I need to void a check?

As we highlighted earlier, there are literally dozens of different reasons you might choose to void a check or ask for a voided check from someone – and we touch on the most popular reasons below.

At the very core, however, a voided check is always asked for in an effort to utilize the electronic banking information that the checks include printed directly on them.

This information includes:

  • The actual bank/credit union that the account is hosted at
  • The bank account number for this specific account and
  • The code that identifies your bank electronically (most commonly referred to as the routing number or ABA number)
  • The name of the owner of the account commonly referred to as account name
  • Check Number
  • The address associated with the account (not all the time)

The name of your banking institution is going to be printed prominently at the top left-hand corner of your check. At the very left-hand bottom of the front of your check is going to be your routing number, your account number, and the official check series number (in that order).

This is the information that today’s electronic banking services need to set up an electronic transfer between two different entities.

1. Direct deposit

Setting up direct deposit for your paychecks (or for one-off payments, if you are a freelancer for example) is incredibly simple with the help of a check that has been voided out.

All you have to do is provide this check to the department responsible for processing payments and they’ll be able to input the information we highlighted above into their system and you’ll get your money a lot faster than you would have traditionally.

You also don’t have to worry about losing a paper check, having a paper check expire and going through the process of requesting another, or any of the other hassle and headache that traditional paper paychecks inevitably bring to the table. The money also becomes immediately available as soon as it has been deposited directly into your account which is another huge bonus.

2. Automate bill payments

Another advantage of utilizing a voided check is to set up automated bill pay services, streamlining your budget significantly and taking a lot of stress and pressure off of your shoulders trying to remember if and when you have to pay bills every month.

Never again do you have to worry about finding your checkbook several times a month and firing off payment through the mail (hoping it gets there on time).

Nor do you have to worry about logging onto online bill payment services after you set up automatic electronic transfers, either.

Think of this as a reverse direct deposit. After you have used a voided check to set up automatic bill pay, you can schedule these bills to be paid instantly when they are due and on a recurring basis – essentially a set it and forget style payment system.

3. Mistakes made with a check

Anyone that has a checkbook is made at least a mistake or two filling out the important information when writing a check, but too many people don’t realize that they need to “secure” that check by voiding it out.

Without going through the process of voiding the check folks run the risk of someone getting their hands on the incomplete check, filling the rest of the details out themselves (and usually making the check out to themselves), and then emptying your account of your hard-earned money.

By voiding out your check that’s never going to happen.

How to void a check

Figuring out how to get a voided check couldn’t be any simpler:

Pull a blank check from your checkbook, making sure to note its official check number in your ledger as you do. Make a note of “VOID check” to make sure you know why that check is skipped when you’re balancing your checkbook.

From there, grab a permanent marker (this is important) and write in big, bold, clear print with plenty of spacing to cover the entire face of the check (except for the banking details we mentioned above) the word V O I D.

If you don’t have a spare blank check and still need to figure out how to get a voided check, there are a couple of options as well.

You can ask your bank to draw you up a “counter check”, a special type of check that can be officially voided by the bank but still includes your important account information. You might also ask the business or organization requesting a voided check if they would accept a deposit slip that has been voided as well.

If both of these options fail you might want to ask the bank to record your pertinent account information and then notarize the letter, making sure it’s printed on their official letterhead. That’s almost always a solid approach, though circumstances will rarely dictate you have to go down that road.

At the end of the day, you shouldn’t have any trouble at all getting your hands on a voided check– and taking advantage of all the benefits it offers– with the help of this quick guide!

Voided check example

Here’s a quick voided check example to understand how VOID should be written across the check

What is a voided check? How to void a check example

Most importantly, make sure you cover the “Pay to the order of” section.

Generally, if “VOID” is written across a check, no matter how or where, it will be recognized as a voided check.

However, you don’t want to take any kind of chances when it comes to your banking information.

So, be thorough and write it large and wide across the majority of the check.

What happens when a check is voided?

So, what happens when a check is voided?

Once you’ve voided a check, it’s essentially disabled and cannot be used any longer.

It doesn’t matter if someone else picks that check up and tries to write over it.

Provided you’ve written “VOID” largely and clearly across the entire check, it can no longer be used.

You can still use that check to grab or provide your bank routing and account number as those numbers are tied to your bank account and not individual checks, however.