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What is a void cheque?

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Void cheques aren’t used as often as they were in the past, but you may still encounter them from time to time so it’s essential to know the basics. Here’s everything you need to know about what a void cheque is, what it’s used for, and more.

What is a void cheque?

A man writing a cheque

A void cheque is a regular cheque with the word VOID written across the front of the cheque.

The “void” writing tells the receiver (and anyone else who handles the cheque) that the cheque has no cash value. If a thief were to steal a cheque that is void, they would not be able to use it to withdraw money from your bank account.

Instead, the receiver is most interested in a void cheque for the transit number, financial institution number, and account number.

These three numbers are found on the bottom of every cheque and tell the receiver the information they need from the void cheque.

What is a void cheque used for?

A void cheque is used to set up an electronic link with your bank account. They are commonly used to prepare pre-authorized debit agreements. A pre-authorized debit agreement lets a financial institution set up automatic payments to either deposit or withdraw money from your bank account. Common examples of this type of withdrawal or deposit include:

  • Set up direct deposits
  • Insurance payment deposits
  • Mortgage payment withdrawals
  • Rent payment withdrawals
  • Loan payment withdrawals

You can also avoid a cheque if you make a mistake while writing one to someone. By writing “void” across the front, you can safely destroy the cheque without worrying about anyone using it to make money from your bank account.

How to void a cheque

If you’re wondering how to void a cheque, you should know that it is very easy.

Take a blank cheque from your checkbook and write VOID across the front of it. Make sure you write it in large letters to cover the whole cheque but don’t cover up the banking information at the bottom of the cheque as the recipient will need those numbers. Use a dark pen or thick black marker to mark your void cheque. Do not use a pencil or anything that a thief could erase.

Since cheques aren’t widely used anymore, you might find yourself needing a voided cheque without any cheques on hand. This situation is becoming more common since e-Transfers and other forms of electronic transfer are the norms when it comes to moving money around. If you don’t have cheques on hand that you can void, you have some options.

Alternatives to void cheques

First, your online banking portal may be able to provide you with a void cheque on demand. You may be able to save the pre-made void cheque as a PDF and then send that via email to whoever needs your void cheque. Alternatively, you can print the void cheque and provide it to whoever needs it (e.g., your employer to set up a direct deposit).

If your online banking portal does not offer this option, you can also ask your bank for one at your local branch. This voided cheque will be printed on demand. There may be a fee for this service.

You may also request a letter from your bank with your vital account information, or you can get a preprinted deposit slip or counter cheque from your bank and use that instead.

Finally, if you don’t have any cheques to hand, you can request them from your bank. Your bank will most likely charge you a fee to purchase cheques and you’ll have to wait for them to come in the mail, so this may not be a good choice if you need your void cheque quickly.

Keep in mind that some of these options may not be acceptable to whoever is requesting the void cheque. If you plan to use an alternative to a void cheque, confirm with the party requiring it to make sure that these alternatives are acceptable.

Our final thoughts

You won’t need a void cheque very often, but it’s very inconvenient not knowing how to make one when you do. The best way to make sure you can prepare a cheque that is void quickly is to order a book of cheques from your financial institution and keep them on hand for an occasion when you need them. Then, you can tear a cheque from the book, void it, and give it to whoever needs it.

Alternatively, you can check whether your bank will allow you to print a void cheque directly from your online banking portal. If this is an option, you won’t need to keep physical cheques on you.

Frequently asked questions

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