How to Void a Cheque

The process of voiding a cheque is easy and simple. However, it needs to be done carefully so that the cheque is not misused by someone for any activity of a fraudulent nature. Mostly, voiding a cheque is used to nullify cheques with errors, to set up a direct deposit, or an automated bill payment.

When you write the word “void” on a cheque, it signifies the fact that the cheque is no more valid. A voided cheque can only be used as a document that provides information about your bank account.

Purpose of a Voided Cheque

A cheque that has been voided cannot be used in any kind of transaction. Even if the cheque was written to a specific person, business, or any other institution, once it is voided, it’s no longer a valid financial instrument that can be used. In case the fields on a cheque are blank, the cheque can no longer be used to make a payment since the cheque cannot be filled in with the required details.

The receiver who gets a voided cheque will not be able to fill in any kind of details on the cheque that is required in order to encash or deposit your cheque with the bank. Also, a voided cheque prevents a third party from using your cheque to fill an amount and forge your signature in order to debit funds from your bank account.

How to Void a Cheque When it is Still in Your Possession

  • Use a pen

    • You can use a blue or a black marker to write “VOID” on the cheque. The motto is to write using an ink that cannot be erased.
  • Write the word “VOID” across specific areas of a cheque

    • You’ll need to mention “VOID” in multiple places of a cheque to signify the fact that the cheque has been voided.
    • You need to write “VOID” across the payee section. This is because a payee line is where you’ll mention the name of the person you’re addressing the cheque to. In case you’ve mentioned a payee name already, strike over the entire payee line section and write “VOID” over it in bold letters.
    • You need to mention “VOID” in the payment amount section. This is the box you’ll use to input the denomination of the cheque. In case you’ve included an amount already, strike over the amount with a line and write “VOID” clearly and legibly over it.
    • You need to write the word “VOID” in the box that is meant for your signature. You’ll need to cross the entire signature if you’ve already signed on the cheque. Write “VOID” in capital letters on both the front and back side of the cheque so that there is no room for misusing the cheque.
    • Even though it’s okay to just write “VOID” in one or two places when you are voiding a cheque, it is recommended to include the word “VOID” in all places on a cheque where it is applicable just to ensure you’re extra cautious. Also, a need for a voided cheque doesn’t arise on a regular basis and it takes less time to write “VOID” in all 4 sections of a cheque that is payee name, payee amount, payee sign (covers the front side of the cheque) and the back side of the cheque.
  • Keep a record of a voided cheque

    • Keep a tab on all cheques you’ve voided with the help of your chequebook or cheque register. You can also use your online banking software to keep a track of all cheques you’ve written and issued from your bank account. With constant monitoring, your financial records will not only be up to date but you can also avoid any kind of confusion regarding the number of cheque leafs that were issued in the past.
    • When you’re including details about the cheques you’ve voided, make sure you also record the reason for which the cheque was voided. You can key in comments like wrong cheque amount, wrote the wrong cheque date, submitted a void cheque for direct deposit, etc.

How Can a Voided Cheque Help You?

Mostly, a voided cheque is used in order to gather your banking information using which an electronic link can be set up with your bank account. A voided cheque will have details such as your bank’s name, your account number, and a code that recognises your bank (routing number).

For a direct deposit

With the help of a voided cheque your employer can get your account information in order to set up an electronic payment. With this option, your employer can deposit funds into your account directly.

When a written cheque has errors

A need for voiding a cheque arises when you make errors while writing a cheque. Common errors include – incorrect payee name, wrong cheque amount, a cheque date has already passed, etc.

For setting up online payments

Sometimes a voided cheque will be required for you to set up automated bill payments. When you opt to pay your recurring bills with this option, funds will get deducted from your bank account automatically on a monthly basis.

How Can You Void a Cheque for Direct Deposit?

In order to set up a direct deposit for your salary cheque or move any other funds into your bank account, you’ll need to submit a cheque leaf from your chequebook. However, in order to protect your cheque from any kind of a fraudulent activity or misuse, it is recommended that you submit a voided cheque. When you write the word “VOID” across a cheque, it cannot be used by anyone.

You need to follow the steps given below when you intend to void a cheque for a direct deposit:

  • Tear out an unused cheque leaf from your chequebook pertaining to the bank account into which you need the funds to be deposited into.
  • Write the word “VOID” using a black or a blue inked pen in huge block letters across the front side of the unused cheque.
  • Submit the direct deposit authorisation form that is signed by you along with the voided cheque, to your employer.
  • Please note, a few employers can set up a direct deposit via a deposit slip also. Hence before submitting a voided cheque, make sure you check with your employer on various options through which a direct deposit can be set up.

What is the Process for Voiding a Lost or a Stolen Cheque?

  • When a written cheque is lost or stolen and your intended cheque recipient informs you that he or she has not yet received the cheque, you need to immediately initiate a stop payment on that cheque. Placing a stop payment is one of the ways to void a cheque to ensure the bank doesn’t encash the cheque to an unauthorised party.
  • Get complete information in relevance to the cheque with the help of the chequebook register. The bank would require details such as cheque number, the date on which the cheque was written, the payee details as mentioned on the cheque, and the amount for which the cheque was issued.
  • Mention in the chequebook about the cheque which was lost. Write the details of a lost cheque in bold letters (in red colour preferably) so that the information stands out when you’re reconciling your bank statements.

How to Cancel a Cheque Once You’ve Issued It

Collect all the information that is required

  • It is better you have all the necessary information handy when you want to cancel a cheque payment.
  • If you want to make a stop payment on a cheque that has already been sent, you need to act quickly. Mostly, a fee will be applicable too.
  • The information that is necessary to bring a stop payment on an issued cheque will vary between banks, in most cases, the following details are required:
    • Cheque number
    • Cheque amount
    • Cheque date
    • Payee details (Person/organisation to whom the cheque was addressed to)
    • The reason for which you’re initiating a stop payment

Consider voiding your cheque online

  • First and foremost you need to check with your bank if there is an option to void a cheque online. If yes, you can do it via your online banking account. However, you need to consider doing this quickly because in case the cheque payment is already processed, the only option you’re left with is to raise a "Stop Payment Order” by getting in touch with the bank.
  • By raising a stop payment order, you’re requesting the bank to cancel a cheque or a payment which is not processed yet. When it is raised soon enough, the cheque amount will not get debited from your bank account. Charges will be applicable for this service.  A stop payment order can be issued by you and can be enacted only if the cheque or payment is not processed by the cheque receiver already.
  • If your bank allows you to void a cheque online, you need to log into your online bank account and select the option “Void a cheque or stop a cheque payment”, and cancel the relevant cheque number.
  • Make sure you’re cancelling the payment for the intended cheque number only.

Get in touch with your bank

  • Call a customer care representative from your bank. You can consider phone banking option when you do not have access to online banking.
  • Before calling the bank, ensure you’ve all the required cheque information such as the cheque number, the cheque amount, the cheque date, the payee details and the reason due to which you’re raising a stop payment on the cheque.
  • You’ll need to ask the bank representative for a "Stop Payment Order."

Use a Video Teller Machine (VTM) to Void a Cheque

Some banks also allow you to void a cheque at a VTM. You will need to insert your credit/debit/ATM card or your NRIC into the machine for this. An officer may assist you with the process of cancellation. Upon completion, don’t forget to collect your card before you leave.

Things to Keep in Mind When You Void a Cheque

Cheques are at high risk of being used for fraudulent activities since your presence as an account holder is not required for a third party to deposit your cheque into their account. Hence, it becomes important for you to monitor the safety of your chequebook constantly and keep a tab on the number of unused cheque leafs you have.

Take the following steps when voiding a check:

  • Do not use a pencil to void a cheque because it can be erased.
  • Make sure you write “VOID” in bold letters so that it is clear and legible.
  • Mention the details of the cheque that has been voided in your cheque register.
  • In case you’ve submitted a voided cheque either for an auto debit facility or for setting up a direct deposit, save a copy of the voided cheque for your records.
  • A need for issuing voided cheques may arise multiple times in the future. Hence, after you’ve voided a cheque, consider taking a photocopy of it or scanning it. When you intend to just email the details on your cheque to someone you might not need an original cheque. In such a scenario a copy of the voided cheque can be sent across. Also, ensure to keep the copy of a voided cheque in a secure location like encrypted storage on your laptop or a filing cabinet with a lock option.
  • In case you have already handed over a cheque to a payee, the only option you have to cancel the cheque is by getting touch with the concerned bank and raise a request for stop payment.

When you void a cheque, you can not only avoid the occurrence of fraudulent activities but also you can prevent unauthorised use of funds from your checking account.

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