How to void a blank check to set up direct deposit

Young businessman in office, looking at how to void a blank check for direct depositImage: Young businessman in office, looking at how to void a blank check for direct deposit

In a Nutshell

Knowing how to void a blank check can be useful in certain situations, such as when you want to set up direct deposit into your checking account. Voiding a check is simple, but needs to be done correctly to ensure that your bank account stays secure and that you avoid unnecessary fees when possible.
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If you’re among the 94% of American workers who prefer to receive their paychecks through direct deposit, you may need to give your employer a voided check to set things up.

Your employer may request a voided check to get your bank’s information, routing number and your own bank account number so they know where to deposit your money.

It’s wise to be cautious with your bank account information, so knowing the proper way to void a blank check could help you set up direct deposit safely and correctly. Let’s look at what you need to know about how to void a blank check.

What’s a voided check?

A voided check is a valid paper bank check that you render unusable and uncashable. Though that specific check can no longer be used to make a purchase or access funds from the attached bank account without your authorization, a voided check is still very useful.

A voided check still contains valuable banking information such as your account and routing number — and you’ll need both numbers to set up a direct deposit through your employer or other payer. Your voided check may also include your address and the name (or names) of the account owner(s), exactly as they’re listed with the banking institution.

Voided checks often contain other important details necessary for an ACH electronic transaction setup, such as your bank’s branch address and phone number.

How to void a blank check

Voiding a blank check is as simple as writing the word “VOID.”

The easiest way to void a check is to rip out the next check number from your checkbook, and then write “void” across the front in large letters. Or, you may choose to write “void” on all the important lines of the check, including the payee line and signature line. You’ll want to use permanent ink (such as a pen or marker) to ensure that it can’t be erased. Just make sure that you don’t cover up the important areas such as your account number and routing number at the bottom of your check, or your personal/bank branch info.

In some cases, your employer may ask for the physical check that has been voided. You may be able to provide a pre-filled form from your bank.

If you give your employer a voided check, be sure to record it in your check register so that you can keep track of which check number was used. After you’ve recorded the voided check, you can either keep it in a secure file or completely destroy it.

Voiding a check payment

There’s a big difference between voiding a blank check and voiding a check that you’ve already written out as payment to someone else. If you’re trying to void a check that was sent to a payee or processed through a merchant, you’ll actually need to contact your bank or credit union about a “stop payment order.”

Whether you’re able to stop a check payment depends on when it was written and whether the payment has already been processed. And depending on your banking institution, there may be fees involved with stopping payment on a check.

What are reasons to void a blank check?

You may need to void a blank check for multiple reasons, not just to set up direct deposit for your paycheck.

You can also request ACH payment for government funds, such as Social Security checks or your tax refund. Since your personal bank check includes all the necessary information to set up an electronic payment (bank institution info, personal info, routing number and account info), it serves as a simple resource and helps eliminate errors.

Voided checks may also be necessary when setting up automatic bill payments, such as bill-pay for utilities or even automatic payments on a home or student loan. While many merchants and lenders can simply accept your banking institution information, voiding a blank check is often required.

What’s next? Setting up direct deposit without a voided check.

With the rise of online banks, your checking account may not come with a supply of paper checks. If you don’t have access to paper checks that you can void and provide to your employer or a merchant who needs one, there are other ways to set up ACH transactions.

  • In many cases, your employer can establish direct deposit simply with you providing your routing and account numbers, as well as how your name appears on the account. Check with your employer’s payroll department to determine if this is an option.
  • The company requesting a voided check may be able to accept printed deposit slips, that have your banking account information on them, instead of a check.
  • Many banks now offer digital checks or, as mentioned above, a pre-filled direct deposit authorization form for ACH setup purposes. These can be filled out online and either printed or emailed directly to your payer.
  • Check with the merchant you want to pay or the lender to whom you make loan payments, to see if they have online options for enrolling in automatic bill payment.

Knowing how to void a blank check is useful whether you need to set up auto-pay on a loan or want to start receiving your paycheck via direct deposit. Voided checks allow you to protect your funds from unauthorized use while also providing your pertinent financial information.

About the author: Stephanie Colestock is a personal finance writer with a passion for helping readers take control of their money. If it has to do with planning for the future, getting out of debt, or even traveling the world on points… Read more.