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The fee to cancel, or “stop payment,” on a check can be $30 or more at many large banks. However, some banks and credit unions charge less, and the cost can vary depending on how you make the request. Here’s an overview of what you might pay.
» Want to start at the beginning? Find out how to cancel a check
Stop payment fees by financial institution
Here’s what it costs to request a stop payment for a personal check* at some of the bigger banks and credit unions:
Stop payment fee**
Bank of America
$30 (waived for customers with Advantage Relationship Banking, Advantage with Tiered Interest Checking, Advantage Regular Checking accounts and Preferred Rewards), $0 for recurring debit transactions.
$25 via online or automated telephone banking; $30 via customer service call or at branch (waived for customers with Chase Sapphire Checking).
$30 (waived for customers with Citigold and Citi Priority accounts, as well as Private Bank clients).
Navy Federal Credit Union
$20 for a single item; $25 for a series of items.
*A preauthorized series of electronic transfers can also be canceled. Cashier's checks and certified checks usually are not eligible for stop payments.
**This information is based on each financial institution's current deposit agreements and disclosures online.
***TD Bank is only available on the East Coast: CT, DC, DE, FL, MD, ME, MA, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, VT, VA.
Some requests cost more
Generally, you can ask for a stop payment through online banking, automated telephone banking or customer service at a branch or over the phone. Some financial institutions have the same fee no matter what; others charge more for personal assistance.
» MORE: How to write a check
Canceling multiple checks can be cheaper
Some institutions, including Navy Federal Credit Union and Pentagon Federal Credit Union, charge just a bit more to stop payment on a consecutive series of checks than they do for just one check. So if you lost or made errors on several checks recently, you can cancel them all at once at a lower cost than you could if you paid a separate fee for each one.
Renewing a stop payment costs money, too
When a check’s date is more than six months old, most banks will consider it “stale,” but some may still honor it. A stop payment on a check usually lasts six months, so if you’re afraid a check might still be cashed at a later date, you’ll need to pay a fee to renew the stop payment.
Banks have a reason for not letting stop payment requests last forever.
"There is a lot of operational work around a stop payment," says Shirley Inscoe, senior analyst of retail banking and payments at the Aite Consulting Group in Boston.
When your bank approves a request to stop payment on a check, it must be able to single out and block that check. If your bank clears it by mistake, it becomes liable for that payment, Inscoe says.