How To Correct A Mistake On A Check

While making mistakes on checks is common, they need to be corrected immediately to prevent an unpleasant ripple effect.

Imagine an incorrect check leading to a bank error, risking your credit report due to a simple oversight.

Simple issues can escalate, inviting unwanted issues or, at its simplest, causing a delay in payment that messes up your accounting records.

By fixing these errors, you can ensure that your account stays in good standing with your bank.

And not to worry, fixing errors on a check is very simple to do.

someone writing a check

Correcting minor errors

Discovering a mistake on your check isn’t the end of the world; it’s a common occurrence.

Perhaps you misspelled the payee’s name or used the wrong date – there’s no need to panic.

The solution involves a simple error correction method that keeps your banking smooth.

  • First, draw a neat line through the incorrect information. Do this carefully, ensuring the incorrect text remains legible.

  • Then, right beside your correction, place your initials.

  • Using a blue or black pen, in clear handwriting, write the correct information on the check.

This simple action confirms your recognition and amendment of the error. Remember, neatness matters tremendously here.

A messy fix could lead to further problems, like your check getting rejected or requiring additional verification.

Handling major mistakes on checks

Facing a significant blunder like jotting down the wrong payee’s name or misstating the amount feels daunting.

But these mistakes are not the end of the world. The best way forward is to void the existing check.

  • Canceling a check means writing “VOID” in large letters across the front, ensuring no one can cash it.

  • After this, issue a new check with the correct details.

Disposing of the void check correctly is also essential; a shredder is the best approach.

If you don’t own a shredder, you can take your check to the bank and ask them to shred it for you.

Can you use whiteout to correct a mistake on a check?

The simple answer is NO; you cannot use whiteout on a check. 

A quick dab of liquid paper can seem like a neat and easy fix, but it’s not that simple.

Banks and financial institutions monitor for signs of fraud, and a whiteout could scream ‘suspicious’ louder than a misspelled name. 

Remember, your checking account, savings account, or any other financial engagement relies on the trust between you and your bank. 

The safest bet? Void the check and start fresh. 

whiteout stick

Best practices for writing checks

Here are some tried-and-true tips to help keep your personal checks error-free moving forward.

  • First and foremost, always double-check the recipient’s name, the numerical amount, and the written amount of the check.

These components are vital for a smooth financial transaction.

Errors here could mean the check bouncing back to you or, worse, falling into the wrong hands.

  • Secondly, the correct date can make or break a deal. It’s easy to mistakenly jot down a future date or cling to the previous year out of habit.

Make it a habit to review the date you’ve written; this small action helps prevent unnecessary confusion or delays.

  • Review the spelling of the payee’s name and your signature.

Misspelled names or a signature that doesn’t match the one your bank has on file could flag your check.

  • I highly recommend writing out the check amount on paper first to ensure the spacing is correct.

Another common mistake is running out of space when writing out large dollar amounts.

Writing out “Two hundred and fifty” takes a lot less space on a short check line than “Four thousand seven hundred and fifty”, so this simple tip can help eliminate mistakes.

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