What’s a voided check?
It may sound contradictory. Checks are documents that order banks to process payments, while the word “void” cancels those orders.
Even though you can’t send money with a voided check, they still share useful financial information. People often use them to set up electronic payments.
How To Use Voided Checks
For example, you can send a voided check to a company so that they know where to make the deposit. Or maybe a business requires your bank verification: you send them a voided check.
To get one, you request a blank check to your bank and fill it like you normally would. But because you’re not trying to send anything, you can mark the amount as $0.
It doesn’t matter what number you write, because banks won’t accept voided checks. To do this, just write “VOID” in a way that covers the front of the check. That’s it!
Why Use Voided Checks?
While we use normal checks for payments, voided checks serve for sharing payment information.
Like direct deposits, you give your banking information so that senders know where to send the money. The moment you write “VOID” on a check, nobody can use it to withdraw from your account. Banks won’t accept it.
Nothing happens if a stranger finds your voided check. It’s like finding your bank account number. That only means that other people can deposit, not withdraw, money.
The danger appears when you’re spending money you don’t have.
Voided Check Scams
If I’m a thief and have your voided check, how could I steal from you? I can pull a check scam.
I forge a $1000 check and deposit it into your account. But because it’s fake, the money isn’t yours.
After the bank spends weeks trying to clear the check, it will bounce back. They will deduct $1000 from your account, whether you have a balance or not.
And a scammer who knows your deposit details probably knows your contact data too. You may get phishing emails telling you how to spend this ‘free’ money.
The scammer poses as the IRS and deposits $2000 to your account with a fake check. You get an email/letter from the “IRS” that requires you to transfer $500 to their designated bank account. If you don’t do it within 72h, you may lose your $2000 “tax refund.”
If you fell for this, you would pay the scammer $500. And weeks later, the bank removes $2000 from your account. If you don’t have the money, you’ll also pay for overdraft fees later.
When getting money for no reason, ask your bank to review the transaction first!
Should I Use Voided Checks?
If you ever need a voided check, first ask yourself whether you can send the same information online. Why bother to write, pay, and mail a check when you can just text the deposit details?
Sometimes, companies require them as legal proof. Now that you know how to get one, you void a check and send it to them. Or send a screenshot of the document if they accept that.
In case you can’t get voided checks from your bank, there’s an alternative: deposit slips. These probably have all the information your sender needs for deposits.