How to void a cheque: The Basics

by Mark Cluett
4 min read

What is a void cheque?

A void cheque is a cheque that has the word “VOID” written over it. This means that the cheque is deemed invalid, allowing you to use it without fear that it would be cashed and money be removed from your bank account. Nobody can fill out the cheque and use it themselves when it’s been voided.

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Why would you need a void cheque?

Void cheques come in handy when you need to set up a link between your bank account and an electronic payment system. This can go two ways. You may need to set up a recurring payment from your bank to a vendor, like an insurance company or your internet provider.

The other situation is for the reverse. When you start a job and opt for direct deposit into your bank account, your employer will need your banking information to ensure you get your paycheque.

To make this link, this other party requires the numbers that are associated with your bank account (the account and routing number). Much like you would set-up a connection through online banking forms, using a void cheque leaves the hard work up to whoever needs to set up the payment.

Void cheques can also apply when you have a genuine need for a proper cheque, but you’ve messed up somewhere while filling it out. Instead of just tossing a partially filled-out cheque in the trash, you’ll want to write “VOID” across it to avoid any potential problems in the future. One of the main ways cheque fraud happens is when someone forgets to void a partially filled-out cheque.

Where do you get a void cheque?

These days most Canadians have moved on from using cheques for their everyday banking, there are still plenty of uses for them.

How to void your cheque

Voiding a cheque is easier than filling one out, especially if you have a chequebook handy and don’t need to visit the bank or request a new chequebook be sent to you. You can take one of your blank cheques and just write the word “VOID’ across it in big letters. Be sure to cover as much surface area as possible.

This is an important step. If you don’t cover the spaces that would normally be filled out for a cheque, there’s a very slim chance that somebody might still be able to cash it themselves.

It’s also vital to remember that you cannot cover the numbers on the bottom of your cheque, as that’s how the party that needs to will establish the connection between your bank account and the electronic payment system.

image if a void cheque in canada

What are the alternatives to voiding a cheque?

If you don’t have a chequebook at all or don’t have access to your cheques, you can always use the direct deposit or pre-authorized debit forms that are associated with your bank account.

Most Canadian banks will allow you to download these forms online, giving you easy access to both your account number and routing number. From here you can send the form over to the institution of your choice, be it your new employer or a vendor or service that requires a recurring payment.

Although void cheques are still a valid option, you’re probably better off downloading the direct deposit forms of the applicable bank account and keeping them stored somewhere safe (on your computer, of course). If you’re “stuck in your old ways” and refuse to change, no need to worry, as using a void cheque will work just as well.

The information provided herein is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal or financial advice.

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