Finding a blank check can bring up lots of questions.
You may be wondering if the check is still good, where it came from, if that account is still open, and more.
Even though more and more people are using electronic payments, there is still a market for checks out there.
If you have come across a blank check and are wondering if it is still good or useful, we have the information you will need.
Do Blank Checks Expire?
Blank checks do not expire, but there could still be the reason that an old blank check may not be able to be cashed.
There are a few different types of checks that you may be talking about.
A blank check with nothing on it that is part of your bank checkbook is likely going to last for many years.
As long as you don’t write anything on the check, the checkbook is still good to use for years.
If you find a check that has some writing on it, like a date, an amount, and a signature, this is going to have an expiration.
Most banks will not honor a check like this if it is more than six months old.
This means that if you have a check to put in the bank, you are better off doing it as soon as possible.
In some cases, with business checks, you may only have thirty or 60 days to cash it.
You can tell at the bottom of these checks because there is often writing that says to void after a certain number of days.
If you have found an old check that is simply part of one of your old checkbooks, you can assume that it will still work just fine when you head to the bank.
What Happens If I Forget To Date A Check?
Many people fill out a check in a hurry.
Chances are you are trying to pay for a good or service or even a bill and finish up the process as quickly as possible.
The problem with moving quickly is that you could forget to fill out certain portions of the check.
For your own protection, you should always be filling in all of the boxes on a check.
The date is one that people often forget to fill out.
If you hand a check over to someone and it does not have a date on it, then they should enter the date on the day they receive it.
If you have a check that has no date, it is fine for you to fill in the appropriate date that you get the check.
From this day forward, you will then use the date that you entered to determine the length of time that your check will be good for.
If you forget to date your check, someone could change the date and then have a much longer time to cash the check.
This can cause problems with balancing your checkbook and making sure that you always have sufficient funds.
The best thing to do is to ensure that you fill in all the boxes when you write out a check.
Can I Fix A Mistake I Made On A Check?
When writing out a check, you must ensure that you are as accurate as possible.
Banks will verify the checks that you deposit to ensure that they are correct and that the information is legitimate.
Customers trust banks to protect their accounts, and when a check comes in which looks like it may be forged or a mistake, the bank needs to alert the customer.
This means that when you go to deposit and especially cash a check, they may spend a few minutes checking over your information.
One of the problems that can come up is if there is an error on your check.
Sometimes when writing out a check, you may make a mistake with the name or the amount.
If you would rather not throw this check away, there may be a chance that you could still use the check.
There is one major rule to remember about fixing mistakes on a check.
If the mistake is in the section where the money amount is, the check cannot be fixed.
The problem with these sections is that it is all the bank has to go by when it comes to the proper amount on your check.
If they look into these sections and cannot decipher the exact amount that you had intended to be withdrawn from your account, they won’t accept the check.
If you make a mistake in the name section or where the date is, you can fix this issue and still consider it a valid check.
When you want to fix a name or a date, make one line through the incorrect writing and then put the correct amount right next to it.
You don’t need to worry about using white-out or scratching out large areas of the check.
Simply cross out the error with one line and put the correction right next to it.
There is still a chance that the bank won’t take a check that has any kind of a mistake on it.
However, for most people, the bank will accept checks with a slight mistake that has been properly corrected on the check.
You will sometimes want to write your initials next to the mistake on the check so that you can ensure that the bank knows that you intended to change the check.
For the most part, when you make a mistake on a check, you will probably want to void it and start again with another blank check.
How To Void A Check
Some people get confused with the concept of voiding a check as opposed to canceling a check.
When you void a check, you are going to essentially remove one of the checks from your register.
This means that the check you void will not be useable in any location.
You can put the word VOID across the check and then file it away.
Make sure that you are aware of the number of the check so that you can ensure the check is properly recorded in your checkbook.
If you don’t make a record of this, you may think a missing check or something is outstanding from your checkbook.
The voiding of a check is something that all bank customers should know how to do.
Let’s say you are filling out a check, and in one of the boxes, you write the number $37.12.
Then when you start writing out the number on the expanded written line, you write it down. “Thirteen hundred seven and 12/100.”
This is a problem, and the bank will reject this check.
You need to be sure that the two numbers boxes are the same if you expect the bank to properly handle the transfer of money from one account to the next.
If you need to cancel a check, this means that you have already issued a check that you want to put a stop on or cancel.
This happens quite often when people lose a check.
Let’s say, for instance, you sent your nephew $100 for his birthday.
He calls you a month later to tell you that he can’t find the check, and he doesn’t know what to do.
You will have to call the bank and ask them to stop or cancel that check number.
The reason to do this is so that the check does not end up in the hands of the wrong individual.
If checks end up with the wrong people, they will try and cash them any way they know how.
If for some reason, the check that you sent your nephew was lost, there could be issues if it has gotten into the hands of the wrong person.
Instead, the best thing is to cancel the check and then send another one to your nephew.
Tell him to keep a good eye on this one because sometimes canceling a check can end up costing you a few dollars.
Do I Need To Sign A Check?
If you notice the bottom of a blank check, there is a signature line for the person who is writing a check.
If the signature line is not signed, a bank is not going to cash the check.
If you remember correctly, we told you that if you get a check with no date on it, it is acceptable to fill in an appropriate date.
However, if you get a check with no signature, it is never okay to fill in a signature.
Altering a check is a very serious crime and something that people will do jail time for.
When you receive a check for a job or payment, you should look at the entire check and ensure that it is properly filled out.
Many people worry about whether or not a check will be accepted, and this is why they choose to work with electronic payments as often as possible.
With the ease of tracking an electronic payment, it is much easier than having to worry about these signatures or mistakes that are made on the check.
Essentially, if you schedule an electronic payment out of your account, the bank is accepting the fact that you are okay with the transaction taking place.
If you don’t sign a check, the person who receives the check will not be able to get very far with it.
This is especially important to remember when sending out payments for bills like utilities and taxes.
If you don’t sign the check, they will have to send it back to you, and then you will be left with having to go through this process again.
Sometimes it can even mean that your payment is late.
Are Checks Going Away?
If you are interested in business or banking at all, you may have noticed that the number of checks written in a year is decreasing significantly.
Years ago, checks were essentially the way that all people conducted business and even purchased things for their homes or family.
The check was a direct way to take from a checking account and make a payment.
When credit cards and debit cards were introduced, the number of checks used started to decrease.
Now that electronic funds transfer is so easy to complete, the use of checks is continuing to decrease.
Each year, we notice that there are close to two billion fewer checks being written.
Certainly, this is a steady decline and one that leads to the question of whether or not checks are going away.
Most experts believe that there will be a day when no checks are used.
This is going to be an adjustment for some businesses that work with checks quite often.
More online payment processors will need to be set up, and there will have to be some more official ways of electronic funds transfer incorporated as well.
Currently, if you want a check that is secure, you can go get a bank check, and it really is nearly as good as having cash.
These types of things will all need to be considered if we switch to a world with no checks.
However, there is a strong possibility that this could happen sooner rather than later.
If you find some blank checks lying around the house, be sure to check on the account number those checks are tied to.
If the checks are really old and the account no longer exists, then those checks can no longer be used.
However, if you find that the account still exists and there is nothing written on the check, then chances are it is still quite good and should be used.
Most banks charge for checks and checkbooks.
If you find an old set, don’t be afraid to use it because it could end up saving you quite a bit of money.
Checks that have writing on them and a date typically won’t be good for more than 30 to 180 days past the original date written on the check.