Use Billpay To Get A Voided Check

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How often do you use checks? Most of the time, it’s to set up a direct deposit right? Well, my friend Scott (he runs the Ghent Bar Tour in Norfolk, which is a charity bar tour that raises tens of thousands of dollars a year) asked me if it was possible to just send yourself a check by Billpay and use that as your “check” for direct deposit purposes.

I opened a checking account at some no-name bank in TN to get $100 after setting up direct deposit. Last time I did this, I ordered some checks through a cheap online site for about $5 so I could get ONE check to send to my HR dept and set up the DD.

But I had a thought this time around – could I send myself a small check (say, $1) through the bank’s free BillPay system and then void that check and use it to set up the DD? It should have all of my bank info on it like any other check and a voided check is a voided check, right, no matter how much it was for or who it was to? It would save me only $4 or so but $4 is $4 and it’s actually less work.

I don’t see any reason why this wouldn’t work (I confirmed with a Bank of America representative that the check does contain the ABA routing number and your account number, the details HR needs). Just send yourself a check for a penny, write void on it when you receive it, and then use that as your voided check. I know you can send a check for a penny because my friend did that to me once when billpay first got started. Why pay for something you don’t need?

I would do this if you only need a handful of checks. If you need more, always buy checks online. If you buy them from the bank, they always overcharge you and send you way too many checks anyway.

{ 22 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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22 Responses to “Use Billpay To Get A Voided Check”

  1. Scott says:

    I submitted this to my company’s HR department. We’ll know soon enough if they’re all A-OK with it but I don’t see why they wouldn’t be.

    Funny thing is things are pretty busy around here right now with housework and I forgot about sending myself a 1 cent check apparently almost right away and then when it showed up in the mail I at first was wondering who in their right mind mailed me a check for only 1 cent… oh yeah, myself.

  2. Caitlin says:

    I just use the same voided cheque I’ve used for years. I’ve submitted it to a couple companies I’ve worked for, and they have no problem returning it. Even less hassle than writing yourself a cheque for a penny.

    When I opened the account, I got 50 free cheques and made one of them void to use in this manner.

    For my business account, I keep a scanned image of a void cheque and fax it to whomever needs a copy. A void cheque is a void cheque, as you say, and all they need is the info and proof you have an account.

    Of course, this only works if you don’t change banks/accounts, but I know it works even with my maiden name on the cheque.

  3. Drew says:

    A lot of banks will provide a document that you can hand to your HR department showing your routing number and account number. You can either ask a teller in the branch, or often times, generate it online. I know Bank of America offers this, as I just used it. Saves the trouble and wait of sending yourself a check!

  4. zapeta says:

    I write about one and a half checks a month. I pay rent by check monthly, and the water bill by check every couple months. Other than that, I do write an occasional check for other things that pop up and I can’t use credit/debit for. I’ve had the same main checking account for many years and I’m still on the first box of checks.

  5. Ike Ahnoklast says:

    I *never* allow direct deposit because all direct deposit agreements I’ve ever seen specify that it’s a two-way channel – that is, the other party is permitted to *remove* money from your account as well as to make deposits. That means that if somebody at the other end is incompetent or dishonest they have the power to hoover your account and then good luck to you recovering it. Even if you are engaged in an honest dispute with that other party, you have still handed them the keys to the kingdom and they may be tempted to somehow tangle you up (by, say, “temporarily” removing the disputed amount) in order to damage your negotiating power and enhance theirs.

    I would only consider entering into a direct-deposit relationship if it could be proven to me that it was a one-way conduit.

    • Korwin says:

      When I was a banker for a large bank, I never had anyone come in with issues caused by direct deposit. However, there were plenty of times that we had to figure out how their deposited pay check didn’t get processed correctly. If you carry your paycheck to the bank, be sure to photo copy the check and deposit slip before hand so you have proof is an issue comes about and never throw away bank receipts!

  6. Ike Ahnoklast says:

    I use ebillpay and in the past I have arranged to have a check mailed to me as suggested, just out of curiosity. The checks are quite professional looking and they are perfectly fine for settling my obligations (in three years and hundreds of transactions I’ve never had any problems) but I’ll point out, at least in my case, the proposed technique would fail.

    This is because my bank has an arrangement with a third party for ebillpay and the checks in question have routing info for that third party’s account, not mine.

  7. Daisy says:

    I bank with Chase Bank and their online bill pay sends cashier’s checks thereby providing extra security of not handing out your account number to vendors you do business with.

    But they also print out a direct deposit form with a voided check printed on it if you go into a branch.

  8. dilbert69 says:

    My company makes this very easy. I simply log on to the payroll site, enter the bank routing number and account number, and problem solved. No voided check, no form to fax, nothing. BTW, you can buy blank check forms and print them on your laser printer. There is customized software (VersaCheck comes to mind) to make this very easy, but if you’re patient, you can probably design a template in Word. If anyone’s interested, I can send you a sheet of three blank business-sized checks (in blue) at no charge). I bought 500 (I thought) recently, which would be more than a lifetime supply, but instead they sent me 500 sheets (1,500 checks), so apparently I’m going to live to be 300. 🙂

  9. Michele says:

    I work in a payroll department and the only reason we would need to have a “voided” check is to have an accurate copy of the Routing and Account numbers. (Sometimes people do not write them down correctly) Most banks will provide this information just for asking. Most online banks have a form that you can just print out that provides that information.

    • Andrew says:

      I would think that the incentive for writing these numbers down clearly and correctly would be high, since failure to do so would delay your paycheck or worse, pay it into someone else’s account.

  10. nickel says:

    That’s brilliant! Of course, when you open an account, you also (usually) get some starter checks. While these don’t have your name and address, they do have your routing and acct # information.

  11. daemondust says:

    I needed a canceled check (ING Direct’s “check” worked well enough) for setting up my original direct deposit at work, but every change after that has only needed routing and account numbers

  12. in the know says:

    Okay.. Jim…I don’t know who you talked to at Bank of America, but you may have gotten bad information.

    Bank of America uses Checkfree (a division of Fiserv) for their online bill pay. The bill pay department sends out payments three ways: electronic (to big companies with electronic service agreements) and two types of checks.

    One check type a laser draft check is drawn off of your (the customer’s) checking account, this check would have your routing number and checking account number; however the bill pay department also sends out checks drawn off of Checkfree’s corporate account. This check would NOT include your personal banking information, and if you missed the difference this could have your direct deposit directed to Checkfree’s corporate account.

    If you send yourself a bill pay check to set up direct deposit, make sure you check the MICR line.

    Also please note Checkfree processed bill pay for hundreds of banks, so the same information applies to other banks, not just Bank of America.

  13. Don says:

    You can also just photocopy a blank check and write void over the copy. Works like a charm.

  14. PJ says:

    I usually just fill out my routing and account numbers and don’t bother giving them a check, since that’s already all the information they need. I’ll bet if they *had* to have a real check you could scan *any* check and photoshop your info onto it, though. >:-) My bank (ING Direct) lets you print out a voided check online just to accommodate these backwards companies that think everyone with a checking account has access to paper checks.

  15. vlad says:

    That’s an awesome idea. Thanks so much!!!

  16. Daniel says:

    Great idea HOWEVER, this does not work from Wells Fargo accounts. I received my 1 cent check in the mail today and it definitely does NOT have my routing number or account number. They omit these numbers for security reasons and put instead wells fargo corporate account routing/account number. Hope this helps, may save people alot of people some missing paychecks going to the wrong account.

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