A voided check is a check that has the word “VOID” clearly written on it (see a sample of a voided check on the right side of this page). Voiding a check “disables” the check so that it can not be used like a blank check. In other words, you can’t write the check to somebody by filling in a payee, entering an amount, and signing it.
Why do they want a Voided Check?
A voided check is generally used to provide banking information so that somebody can set up an electronic link with your bank account. They ask for a voided check because checks have your banking information printed on the bottom; those funny looking numbers contain your bank account number along with a code (called a routing number) that identifies your bank. So, the check tells them where you bank, and what your account number is at that bank -- everything needed to deposit or withdraw funds.
For example, to set up direct deposit, your employer may ask for a voided check. They’ll copy the banking information from that check, and that’s about it. Ideally, they’ll then shred the check so that nobody else can get their hands on that information. Your pay is sent electronically from your employer to your checking account, and they will not pay you with a paper paycheck. However, you may still get a pay stub on paper, or at least have the option to print one online if needed.
Likewise, you may have to provide a voided check to make automatic payments. For example, you can have your mortgage payments deducted from your account every month so that you don’t have to write a check. To do so, you may have to send a voided check, along with a form that authorizes automatic payments, to your mortgage servicer.
How to get a Voided Check
Voiding a check is easy: just grab a check out of your checkbook, and write “V O I D” across the front in large letters. Write with large, well-spaced letters that are tall and wide enough to cover the whole face of the check (except for the banking information at the bottom). Use a pen or fine marker -- you don’t want anybody to erase the word because then they’d have a blank check.
If you need more details, or if you don’t have any checks from your account, see How to Void a Check.