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Just like with anything else in life, sometimes we make mistakes when filling out our checks. Instead of wasting the check and going for a new one, is it allowed to use white out on a check instead of starting anew?

We will answer this question and many more that will have you feeling confident when it comes to correcting checks.

a person writing on a check carefully to avoid using white out on check

Can you use white out on a check?

No, it’s not advisable to use white out if you’ve made a mistake on your check. It’s possible that the bank will consider this a form of fraudulence or tampering, and may reject the check. It’s better to use a new check or try to correct the mistake another way.

If you use white out on a check, it won’t be accepted because it’s possible that someone else may have applied the white out to the check to change the overall amount and possibly cash or deposit it for more money than intended by the account holder.

Another reason not to use white out is that it can make the check difficult for the bank to read. White out can be textured, making it hard to write on, so the final check may not be legible.

Finally, the white out may be incompatible with machines that the bank uses to scan and deposit checks. If the check is rejected because of this, you may have to resubmit it in person or get a new one altogether.

Related: What is a Certified Check – and How Do I Get One?

Can you use white out on the back of a check?

No, you shouldn’t use white out on the back of the check, because it won’t be accepted no matter where you put the white out. If you use it on the back, the bank may suspect that you have adjusted or plagiarized the signature and may require you to fill out and submit a new check.

This is why it’s a much better strategy to follow one of the options below if you make a mistake on a check instead of using white out.

What to do if you make a mistake on a check

Did you make a mistake when filling out your check? If so, don’t worry – it happens to all of us at some point. Here are a few ways that you can fix the mistake without having to start over with a new check:

1. See if the mistake is fixable

Firstly, you’ll want to assess the mistake to see if it’s possible to fix it. If you’ve spelled someone’s name wrong, a simple line through the error and a rewrite should suffice.

a person adding initials on check instead of using white out

2. Identify which mistakes aren’t correctable

If you’ve written the wrong amount on your check, it’s best to simply use another one instead of correcting it. 

Banks are known for being perfectionists when it comes to getting amounts correct, so they don’t want any gray space when it comes to how much money should be changing hands.

You may also be interested in: Can I Use a Check With an Old Address?

3. Add your initials to the corrected mistake

If there is a correctable mistake on your check such as a misspelled name, go ahead and add your initials next to your correction. This lets banks know that it was you who made the mistake and that it has been changed and also increases the odds of approval.

4. Void the check if it’s unusable

If you can’t correct the check because you’ve written in the wrong amount, you should void the check before disposing of it. Voiding the check lets you make sure that it can’t be used by anyone else. It’s an official way of rendering a check unusable.

Write the word “void” in a non-erasable way across the front of the check, and sign your name under it. For additional security, make a photocopy of both sides of the check for your records, then dispose of the original in a secure way (such as shredding it).

5. Get a new check

If you’re not able to fix the mistake on your check, or if you’re unsure about how to go about fixing it, the best course of action is simply to get a new one. Take your time when writing out the information so that you don’t make the same mistake again.

Find out more about: Is It Safe to Order Checks Online?

6. Be prepared for the check to be rejected

Even if you are able to correct and deposit the check, keep in mind that if anything is unclear, the bank may reject it anyway. It’s good to manage your expectations, especially if you need an amount of money deposited or transferred ASAP.

What happens if you mess up your signature on a check?

If you mess up your signature when signing a check, it’s usually not a big deal. If the mistake is minor, you can simply write over the misspelled section of the signature. If the complete signature is wrong, it’s best to cross it out, rewrite it, and initial next to it.

It’s unlikely that your check will get rejected if you follow this process since most banks are lenient about customers correcting minor mistakes such as an imperfect signature.

You can make this correction both on the front signature of the check, or when endorsing the back of a check.

a person signing the check carefully to avoid using white out on check

How to correct it if I wrote the wrong amount on a check

If you’ve written the wrong amount of money on a check, don’t try to fix it by crossing out the mistake and rewriting the correct amount. Instead, you should void the check and start over with a new one to avoid the likelihood of the check being rejected.

To void a check, simply write the word “void” in large letters across the front of the check with permanent ink and dispose of it securely by destroying the check and throwing it away.

What to do if I wrote the wrong date on my check

In order to correct an incorrect date on your check, simply strike a line through it and clearly rewrite the correct date on it, with your initials next to it. If the date is only a day or two off, you may be able to leave it as is and the check will likely still be processed without issue.

If you wrote the wrong month or year, however, it’s best to play it safe and get a new check to start anew with.

How do I get my money back if I wrote the wrong amount on a check?

If you have written an incorrect amount on your check, the first thing you need to do is contact your bank and request a stop payment. The sooner you contact the bank, the more likely you’ll be able to intercept the check.

If you’re not able to do this in time and the check is cashed out, it’s not the bank’s responsibility, so you may be out of the money and unable to open a claim.

a man holding a check without white out on it

How to reduce the risk of check fraud

It’s important to take care of your checks to avoid a bank suspecting fraud, or to prevent actual check fraud from occurring. Here are some things you can do that will help:

1. Write with a pen

Never use a pencil or erasable ink when writing out your check. This can make the check look suspicious and may cause the bank to reject it.

You’ll also want to avoid using light colors of ink, such as pink or yellow, as they can be easy to alter. Blue or black ink is best.

2. Use a print font instead of cursive

In order to make the check harder to alter and easier to read, it’s best to use a print font instead of cursive. This will make it more difficult for someone to change the amount of the check or other information and help the bank to clearly see the information written down.

3. Keep your signature consistent

When you sign your check, use the same signature that you have on file with your bank. This will help to prevent someone from forging your signature and cashing the check.

FYI: If you need to make a change to your signature, be sure to notify your bank so that they can update their records.

4. Make carbon copies or scans of your checks

It’s always good to have a backup in case your check gets lost or stolen. You can make a photocopy or scan of the front and back of the check so that you have a digital copy on hand.

You can also purchase a checkbook that comes with carbon copies so you will have an instant copy of each check that you write.

5. Don’t make checks out to cash

If you need to exchange a check for cash, it’s best to go to your bank and have them do it for you. This way, you can be sure that the proper amount of money is exchanged and that no one will try to alter the check.

If you absolutely must make a check out to cash, be sure to sign the back of it and keep it in your possession until you’re able to cash it.

6. Keep your checks in a safe place

You should always keep your checks in a safe and secure place, such as a locked drawer or box. This will help to prevent someone from stealing them and using them fraudulently.

It’s also a good idea to keep track of the checks that you write so you can quickly spot any that are missing. You can do this by using a checkbook ledger that has each check number listed in sequence.

Related: Can Someone Else Deposit a Check For Me?

What to do if your check is lost or stolen?

If you lose your checkbook or have a check stolen, the first thing you should do is contact your bank. They will be able to cancel the checks that are missing and reissue you a new checkbook.

You should also keep an eye on your bank account to make sure that no fraudulent charges are being made. If you see anything suspicious, be sure to report it to your bank right away.

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