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Stop Payments: The Cost to Cancel Checks at Banks

January 19, 2016
Banking, Banking Basics, Checking Accounts
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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 institutionStop payment fee**
Ally Bank$15
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)
Bank5 Connect$15
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)
BMO Harris$35
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
Discover Bank$15
HSBC Bank$30 (waived for customers with HSBC Premier accounts)
Nationwide$20
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)
Simple Bank$0
SunTrust Bank$36
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)
US Bank$35
Wells Fargo$31
*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.

Spencer Tierney is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: spencer@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @SpencerNerd.