How to get a cancelled check?

How do you get a cancelled check?

A canceled check, often confused with voided checks, can be obtained by contacting your bank. The bank will be able to provide a copy of the voided check within 7-10 business days. However, a cancelled check request may take longer if the check is old or if you want a physical copy.

In most cases, you don’t need a cancelled check. A voided check will suffice for most applications including employers and can be obtained by writing ‘void’ across a blank check.

It’s important that you understand the difference between voided and cancelled checks.

Luckily for you, I’ll show you what a cancelled check is and if it’s the same as a voided check. I’ll show you why companies ask for cancelled checks and how you can cancel a lost check. Canceling a check is easier than you think!

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What is a cancelled check?

A cancelled check is a check that has been used to pay for goods or services and has been cleared by the bank. The bank then cancels the check once the funds have successfully been transferred to the payee. Cancelling a check ensures the check cannot be used again.

Is a cancelled check the same as a voided check?

A cancelled check is not the same as a voided check, although they serve similar purposes. A voided check has ‘void’ written across the check for checks written in error to avoid cashing or depositing. Cancelled checks have already been processed by the bank and cancelled to avoid double payment.

For example, you are writing a check to a contractor and wrote $950 as the payment amount. However, the contractor decides to give you a $100 discount or you misheard the amount. 

You can write ‘void’ across the check for $950 so nobody that comes across the check can cash it. The check has been nullified, allowing you to write a new check for the right amount of $850.

Now, the contractor takes the check for $850 and goes to his bank or credit union. He hands the check to the bank teller who transfers the funds from the clients account to his. The check will now be cancelled by the bank so the client isn’t charged another $850 by someone trying to cash the check again.

Can you deposit a cancelled check?

A check may not be deposited once a check has been cancelled or voided. Cancelled or voided checks communicate to the bank teller not to transfer funds. Banks monitor check transactions and will stop payment on anyone attempting to deposit a cancelled check.

For example, let’s assume you’re walking down the street and find a check with the words ‘void’ on it. You take the check to the bank and try to cash it. The bank teller should tell you that they are unable to cash the check.

However, let’s assume the wording on the check that said ‘cancelled’ or ‘void’ was small. The bank teller didn’t catch it and the bank teller starts transferring funds to your account. 

You may think you’re getting lucky, but all checks are reviewed before the funds become available. Therefore, the transaction would be denied and the funds returned to the person who wrote the check.

I know what you’re thinking, “I’ll just use my mobile check deposit app or deposit my check through an ATM.” However, using mobile or ATM check deposits will not clear your bank’s review of the check.

The money deposited in your account will be removed should you manage to deposit a check that was cancelled. Removing the funds can cause you to overdraft on your account. You may incur fees or be subject to legal action if the bank can prove you attempted fraud.

Can you uncancel a cancelled check?

Checks cannot be uncancelled once the payment has been processed. However, you may be able to perform a ‘stop payment’ on checks that have not been fully processed. Stop payments can be performed by contacting your bank before the check clears and typically costs a fee.

Let’s go back to our contractor example. You paid the contractor, but then realized they didn’t finish the job. You may not want to give the contractor the full-payment until the job is complete.

Unfortunately, you cannot get the funds returned to you if the money was deposited into the contractors account. The transaction is considered complete and you can’t withdraw money from the contractor’s account.

However, let’s assume you check your online banking and see the transaction as ‘Pending.’ You may be able to call your bank and ask for a stop payment on the check. The funds have not been processed, so it is possible to ensure the money is not transferred.

Why do companies ask for a cancelled check?

A company may ask for a cancelled or voided check in order to update their payment information. The check contains important information for direct deposits, such as the routing number of your bank. Other companies will collect the same information from you digitally without requiring a voided check.

In most cases, simply bringing a check with the words ‘void’ written across the check is enough for your employer. Some employers may use ‘cancelled’ and ‘voided’ checks interchangeably. However, your company will most likely just need a blank check with the word ‘void’ written across it.

How to cancel a lost check

You can cancel a lost check by first checking to ensure the check hasn’t been cashed or deposited via online banking. Gather the check number and your account number and call your bank. Ask the bank to cancel the lost check. You may be charged a fee for cancelling the check.

How do I get a cancelled check?

You can get a cancelled check by contacting your bank who has a record of your cancelled checks. However, you will need to have written a check and paid someone in order for the record to exist. Writing a voided check may be sufficient and less of a hassle to obtain depending on why you need the check.

How long does it take to get a cancelled check?

Obtaining a cancelled check can take between 7-10 business days from your bank. However, getting a canceled check can take longer if requesting a physical copy or an old check.

Summary: How to get a cancelled check

As you can see, it is possible to get a cancelled check. A cancelled check is a check that has been processed and cancelled by the bank to avoid double payment. Cancelled checks are different from voided checks, where a voided check prevents the check from being cashed in the first place.

You cannot deposit a cancelled check. Bank tellers and check reviews will prevent the funds from being transferred. You may be subject to funds being removed from your account, fees, and legal consequences for depositing a cancelled check.

Uncancelling a check isn’t possible. The check has been finalized once the funds have been transferred. However, transactions that show up as pending in your online banking may be subject to stop payments.

Your company may ask for a cancelled check, but they may just need a voided check. A voided check can be obtained by writing ‘void’ across the check. The company will need this information to set up direct deposit.

You can cancel a lost check by identifying your account number and the check number. Contact your bank and ask them to cancel the check. However, you cannot cancel a lost check if someone has already cashed or deposited it.

Obtain a copy of a cancelled check by contacting your bank. The bank has records of all cancelled checks. Typically, you will get the check within 7-10 business days, but it may take longer depending on the request.


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John is the founder of TightFist Finance and an expert in the field of personal finance. John has studied personal finance for over 10 years and has used his knowledge to pay down debt, grow his investment portfolio, and launch a financial based business. He is committed to sharing content related to personal finance based on his experience in his career, investing, and path towards reaching financial independence.