A void cheque is one that has VOID written across it. It signifies that the cheque has been cancelled and can no longer be used as a form of payment.
Learn more about how to write a void cheque, what are the most common reasons for voiding a cheque in Canada and alternatives you can use.
How to Fill Out a Void Cheque?
It may sound complicated but writing a void cheque is actually very simple. This is what you need to do:
- Tear off a blank cheque from your chequebook
- Write VOID in large letters across the front of the cheque—do not write anything over the top left corner or cross out your bank details
- Send it to the intended recipient by mail or email
Although not required, you can make a copy of the void cheque and save it for your financial records.
There are three important things to remember when writing a void cheque:
- Never discard a partially filled cheque without writing VOID across it first—otherwise, anyone could use the blank cheque to withdraw money from your account.
- When writing VOID across the cheque, make sure you don’t cover your personal details in the top left corner. You will need these to establish a link between your account and your employer, lender or landlord (depending on what you’re using the void cheque for).
- Don’t cover the numbers at the bottom of the cheque. These are the numbers that provide your banking information, which the payor or payee needs to complete the transaction.
How to void a cheque without a chequebook?
If you don’t have a chequebook but still need a void cheque you can easily download and print one out from your online banking account. Most of the big financial institutions in the country including BMO, TD, Tangerine and RBC provide customers with void cheques right from the app.
After you log into your account and get access to the void cheque, you can print it out or send the information to the recipient electronically.
You may also get a counter cheque from the bank in person, although you might be charged a small fee for the service.
Do you need to void the back of the cheque?
Although you don’t have to void the back of the cheque as this is where the payee signs to endorse the cheque, you can if you wish to. Doing so will make it even more clear that the cheque is invalid.
Why Do You Need a Void Cheque?
Since each cheque holds your account information on the bottom, you could be asked for a void cheque to set up an electronic link to your bank account for direct deposits or automatic payments.
A cheque is the easiest way to provide your banking information to your employer so they can set up direct deposits and electronically transfer your salary to your account each month.
If you have regular monthly expenses such as insurance premiums, car loan payments, utilities or rent, you could use a void cheque to set up automatic payments (also known as pre-authorized payments) and make sure that your bills are paid on time. This way, you’ll also ensure that you won’t forget any monthly expenses and fall behind with your loan or rent payments.
If you’ve made a mistake
It’s very easy to make a mistake when you’re filling out a cheque. While you can cross out the wrong data, the bank is not likely to accept a cheque with corrections, so it’s best to void the cheque and start over.
How to void a cheque you have already sent
You may want to void a cheque that you have already sent out—perhaps you don’t want the payment processed or you realized later that you made a mistake.
To stop the payment you need to make a stop payment request. Here is how
- Log into your account
- Check your account balance
- Click on Stop payments/cheques or Request to stop a payment
- Select the account that issued the payment
- Provide details on the cheque (date, amount etc)
- Submit your request
If the stop payment request was successful, you will be given a Reference number (you should save this for record-keeping purposes), while the money will go through your account and be reversed on the next business day.
Banks typically charge a small fee for the service ranging from $12.50 to $25 per cheque.
Bear in mind that a stop payment can be successful only if the payment has not been processed yet, i.e. the money has not been deposited into the payee’s account. Even in that case, the stop payment may not go through if you give inaccurate information to the bank. If the stop payment is not successful and the cheque has been cashed, the only option is to contact the payee and ask them for the money back.
Note: If you’ve set up automatic payments, requesting a stop payment will only apply to the current payment. Future pre-authorized payments will need to be stopped individually.
Alternatives to Void Cheques
In reality, you don’t need a void cheque to provide merchants or your employer with your banking details. Instead, you can contact the bank directly and ask for the transit, institution and account numbers you need to link the payments to your account.
Alternatively, you could download the Direct Deposit/Pre-Authorized Debit payment forms through your online bank account. These forms are available at all banks and come pre-filled with the same numbers found on cheques. From there, you can send the form to a vendor or your employer instead of a void cheque.
If you still want to go with good old-fashioned paper, you may get a deposit slip book which also has the account and banking details needed to set up an electronic link to your bank account.
No, there is no need for a signature. If you write VOID across a cheque, it automatically becomes invalid and cannot be deposited. It is actually better if the cheques are not signed as it lowers the odds of them getting misused.
Yes, you can download a void cheque straight from your banking app. Most banks in the country provide this service.
Yes, if your bank has set up an online payment service, you’ll have the freedom to void as many cheques as you’d like.