The fee to cancel, or “stop payment,” on a check can be surprisingly high. Large banks tend to charge around $30, but the cost can vary depending on how you make the request. Here’s an overview of what you might pay.
» MORE: 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:
|Financial institution||Stop payment fee**|
|Alliant Credit Union||$0 via online or automated telephone banking; $25 via customer service call or bank visit|
|Bank of America||$30 (waived for customers with Interest Checking or Advantage With Tiered Interest Checking accounts, or those enrolled in Platinum Privileges or Preferred Rewards)|
|BB&T||$35 ($34 for residents of Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas)|
|BBVA Compass||$25 via online banking; $32 via customer service call or at branch (fee for California residents is $30 if made at a branch or over the phone)|
|Capital One 360||$25|
|Chase||$25 via online or automated telephone banking; $30 via customer service call or at branch (waived for customers with Chase Premier Platinum Checking)|
|Citibank||$30 (waived for customers with Citigold accounts)|
|Connexus Credit Union||$29.95|
|Consumers Credit Union||$25 via online or automated telephone banking; $30 via customer service call or at branch|
|HSBC Bank||$30 (waived for customers with HSBC Premier accounts)|
|Navy Federal Credit Union||$20 for a single check;
$25 for series of checks
|Pentagon Federal Credit Union||$15 for a single check;
$25 for a series of checks
|PNC Bank||$33 (waived for customers with Performance Checking and Performance Select Checking)|
|TD Bank||$30 (waived for customers with TD Relationship Checking & Savings, TD Premier Checking, Private Tiered Checking and Private High Yield Savings accounts)|
|Union Bank||$15 via online or automated telephone banking; $30 via customer service call or at branch (you can also stop payment on a range of checks but only through a customer service call or by visiting a branch)|
|*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.
Different methods for requests
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
Some institutions, including Navy Federal Credit Union and Pentagon Federal Credit Union, charge 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
When a check’s date is 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.
The cost of stopping a payment can differ by how you request it and whether you need to renew it. Knowing your bank’s fees can help you cancel a check as cheaply as possible.
Image via iStock.