When setting up automatic payments for a utility company, direct deposit or other automated services involving your checking account, you can often be asked to provide a voided check with your paperwork. Knowing how to void a check correctly is important so that you can ensure you provide the appropriate information, but also keep your bank account and information secure. Thankfully, voiding a check is simple and straightforward.
Why do other companies ask for a voided check? Typically it’s when setting up direct deposit, automatic payments or other items. To do so, they need your account number and the routing number (which identifies the bank). By providing a voided check, they’re able to confirm that the account number and routing number you provide is legitimate.
How to void a check
In order to void a check correctly, you’ll want to write the word “VOID” in very clear and large letters across the check itself. When you do this, make sure that you cover most of the check, but do not cover the bank account and routing numbers as these will need to be used to confirm the account information and setup the automatic payment situation you’re intending to set up.
Why write “VOID” across the check? This clearly marks the check voided, but also prevents somebody from using the check inappropriately should they get their hands on the check. For example, if an ill-intentioned person got a hold of a blank check, they could use it to steal money out of your account.
When you do a voided check, make sure you keep the appropriate records of the check. If you maintain your checking account ledger, mark the check number in the ledger, the date and that it is a voided check. Keeping your records up-to-date is crucial should something happen and you need to look back at checking account activity.
Next, you need to send either an image of the check or the check itself to the third party requesting the voided check. Ideally, don’t do this via unsecured-email as this could allow third parties to gain access to your information.
Note: Don’t sign the check! Signing the check can make it easier for someone to defraud you, and the third party that needs your bank account information doesn’t need a signed check.
How to void a check if you don’t have any checks
On occasion, the account connection can be accomplished completely online. Some third party online systems let you login to your online banking via API access which accomplishes the appropriate linking of accounts.
Starter checks are often available from your local bank branch. You can head into your bank and ask for a handful of starter checks. Before going through this process, of course, ask the third party that requested the voided check if this will accomplish what is necessary.
On occasion a deposit slip might suffice for a voided check, but not all vendors will accept this so be sure to check beforehand.
Lastly, if you don’t have checks, find out if the third party company that is requesting the voided check will accept other bank account documentation. If so, you can likely goto your bank branch and get some official documentation from the bank or credit union that supplies the necessary information.
Other tips for how to void a check
Keep a copy. For security and record purposes, it can be super useful to have an actual photocopy of the voided check in your files.
Also, don’t supply a voided check to just anybody. Make sure that the company requesting it is a legitimate company with a trustworthy and proven history of operations.
Other checking account best practices
Because your checking account is likely one of the core components of your personal financial world, it’s important to follow a few best practices.
While balancing your checkbook is viewed quite differently in today’s world of online banking and credit card ubiquity, it’s still important to balance the checking account. If you aren’t willing to keep the checkbook balanced in the true sense on an ongoing basis, make sure that you maintain a decent cushion in your account and check the status regularly. It’s always a really good practice to monitor the transactions hitting your account to both keep tabs on the overall balance, but also make sure no fraudulent activity is occurring.
Check to make sure that you have overdraft protection on your account. Check to see the fees involved. If they are ridiculous, ask your bank why your overdraft protection fees are higher than other banks.
With the online banking functionality of today, keeping tabs on your checking account is easy and straightforward. You can even setup email and text alerts of a myriad of types of events that can occur on the account. Large transactions, suspicious transactions and other events can result in alerts to your phone or email. Upon receiving the alert, you can check the status of the account and make sure everything is good.
Should you have any errors or issues with your account, make sure to contact customer service immediately. If you don’t get anywhere over the phone, goto your local branch and get a hold of someone in person.
If you’re still unsure of how to void a check or if you have any other questions regarding your checking account, be sure to talk directly with your representatives at your local bank. They should be able to answer necessary questions.