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Published August 30, 2022

What Is a Void Cheque?

A void cheque is one that has been rendered invalid by writing "VOID" across it. Voided cheques are often used to transmit banking details for the purpose of making an electronic transaction.

A voided cheque is a paper cheque that has “VOID” written across the front, rendering it invalid as a form of payment.

Void cheques are a common way to relay one’s banking details to a person or company so they can create an electronic link to your bank account for certain transactions.

Though a void cheque is unusable, it still contains unique banking information, such as your bank account and routing numbers.

How to use a void cheque

You can’t cash or deposit a voided cheque. But there are reasons why you may need to void a cheque even though you can’t make a payment with it.

Establish direct deposits

One of the most common uses for a voided cheque is to provide up direct payroll deposits with an employer. The payroll department will use the banking information listed on the cheque to electronically transmit your wages to your bank account. Voiding ensures that you’re not giving a blank cheque that could be misused.

Set up automated payments

You can provide a void cheque to a merchant to set up automatic payments (also called pre-authorized payments) for recurring expenses, such as insurance, car payments, rent and utility bills. This saves you from having to remember to make payments on time and ensuring that a bill never becomes overdue.

Security

Another reason to void a cheque is when you’ve entered the wrong information on it — such as an incorrect date or dollar amount — while trying to make a payment. By writing “VOID” on the cheque, you ensure its unusable in case the partially filled out cheque falls into the wrong hands after you throw it out.

How to void a cheque

To void a cheque, you simply need to write the word “VOID” in ink in large capital letters across the front, without covering the numbers at the bottom of the check. It’s a good idea not to sign the cheque to safeguard it from being misused.

How to read a void cheque

On a voided cheque, you’ll find three key sets of numbers that a company or employer will need to set up direct deposit or pre-authorized payments. These numbers are usually found at the bottom of the cheque.

  • Transit (or branch) number: The five-digit number identifies which branch you opened your account at.
  • Financial institution number: The three-digit sequence identifies your bank.
  • Account number: This is your personal seven-digit bank account number.

How to get a void cheque from your bank

If you don’t have a chequebook, you can still get a void cheque. Most banks make it easy to access void cheques via online banking. Typically, you need to log into your account and look for a link that says something like “void cheque” or “direct deposit information.” You can then print the void cheque or download the information and send it electronically to your payor.

To ensure a void cheque is unusable, it’s wise not to sign it. Also be sure not to write over the banking information at the bottom when you write “VOID” on the cheque.

Alternatives to void cheques

A void cheque is a way for an employer or company to ensure it has your correct banking details. However, if it doesn’t insist on an actual voided cheque, you can simply contact your bank to confirm transit, institution and account numbers.

Additionally, because direct deposits and pre-authorized payments are so popular, many online bank accounts provide a link to a form with all your banking details. Look for a link that references direct deposit and/or pre-authorized payment information after you log into your account. You should be able to print or download the form.

FAQs

    • Does a void cheque need to be signed?

      You do not need to sign a void cheque. For security reasons, it’s actually better not to sign it. This helps ensure that no one can use your cheque to withdraw money from your account.

    • Are a void cheque and direct deposit the same?

      No, they’re not the same thing. A void cheque is often requested by an employer so it has the banking information it needs  to facilitate setting up direct deposit of your pay into your bank account.

About the Author

Sandra MacGregor

Sandra MacGregor has been writing about personal finance, investing and credit cards for over a decade. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications like the New York Times, the UK Telegraph, the Washington Post, Forbes.com and the Toronto Star. You can follow her on Twitter at @MacgregorWrites.

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