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Void cheques are an easy and efficient way to process payments automatically. Unlike traditional cheques, the void cheque offers repeat access to the account. There are plenty of opportunities where you may encounter void cheques, including renting apartments and paying utilities. When used properly, a void cheque is a convenient banking feature. Understanding how void cheques work equips you with the information to handle this financial document safely. In this article, we’ll define a void cheque, detail its uses and features, then explain how to get a void cheque from each of Canada’s major banks. 

What Is A Void Cheque?

Before online banking, a void cheque was literally a paper cheque that you voided by slashing a line through it and clearly printing the word VOID. It meant that the recipient could not use that cheque by filling in the amount and recipient, then cashing it. Now, a void cheque can also be a sample document (sometimes referred to as a direct deposit form) that holds all the information a cheque otherwise would have.

Void cheques contain your address, details about your bank, and how to access your account. Void cheques don’t usually contain a SWIFT code, an extra code that you need for international transactions. It’s unique to the banking institution and works with your void cheque to enable transactions with overseas institutions. 

What Are Void Cheques Used For? 

There are many applications for void cheques, some optional and others mandatory. When you provide a void cheque, the recipient gets your personal financial information related to that account. This information is necessary for two main things: receive a direct deposit or make a payment. Voiding the cheque ensures that the cheque is not blank and that the recipient can’t add in an amount and cash the cheque, ultimately stealing from you.

A void cheque is an official banking document that lists your bank account information. A void cheque is both an identification and authorization document. Void cheques declare that the cheque doesn’t have value in and of itself. It’s a liaison that offers a connection to your account, for debit or credit. It no longer acts as actual tender. 

There are many situations where you might require a void cheque, including: 

  • Utility payments
  • Insurance payments
  • Rent or mortgage payments
  • Direct deposits from employers
  • Links to third-party payment sites (ex. Stripe, PayPal) 
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Features Of A Cheque

Though each bank has a slightly different style for its cheques, there are some common features on each. The five key components are: 

1. Your Home Address

The cheque notes your full legal address, one of the reasons it’s important to keep your banking information up to date. It provides means of written correspondence through the regular mail. This feature is present whether the cheque is a void document printed off your online banking, or if it’s a standard paper cheque. 

2. Your Bank Branch Address

The bank address is the location of your bank. If you need to issue correspondence, or anyone handling the cheque needs to, this provides the physical location of that bank. This originating branch remains the same, even if you move to another city or province. You can find it below the bank company’s logo. All of Canada’s Big Five banks have multiple points of service. 

3. The Transit Number

When you look at the bottom of a paper check, there are three letters furthest to the left. Following that is a set of five numbers: the transit number. It represents the bank branch location of where you originated the account.  The transit number is the location identifier of your original bank branch. 

When you made a bank account, in many situations, you went to an actual location. Even if you work exclusively online, there is still a branch that’s associated with your account. This originating branch remains the same, even if you move to another city or province. 

4. The Institution Number

The institution number is the three digits that come after the transit number. It identifies the financial institution, a code independent of the transit number. According to the Canadian Bankers Association, there are 5,783 branches across the country (as of 2020). Together, the transit and institution numbers provide digital directions to the virtual location of your bank account. 

5. Your Account Number (A.K.A: Folio Number)

The number for your account is the final piece of identification on the void cheque. It immediately follows the institution number and is either seven or twelve digits long. Now that the recipient has the information on your bank branch and the corresponding institution number, this provides the specific account details. Held alone, your account number won’t permit deposits or withdrawals. All of the information on the void cheque is necessary for it to be functional. 

Find out what is a routing number?

How To Get A Void Cheque

If you were to get a void cheque you’d go onto your online banking, download one and print it. Each financial institution does it slightly differently, with the Big 5 banks’ processes as follows: 

Steps To Get A RBC Void Cheque

You can print off a void cheque for RBC in six basic steps, as follows: 

  1. Log into the RBC online banking portal on a laptop or computer (the void cheque feature doesn’t function on mobile devices). 
  2. Navigate to the ‘My Services’ section and click on the Account Services button. 
  3. Select the option that says View and Print Void Cheque.
  4. Choose the account for the void cheque. It’s best to use a chequing account to avoid fees associated with processing.
  5. Before the system will show the void cheque, you must agree to the terms and conditions.
  6. Once you consent, click view and print. If you have a paper printer, you can print it there. Otherwise, simply print to .pdf and save the file. 

Steps To Get A TD Void Cheque

Getting a void cheque at TD follows a straightforward process, especially if you have online banking. Simply: 

  1. Log into your TD online service with the EasyWeb system.
  2. Choose the account that the cheque will connect to. 
  3. On the right side of the page, click on the ‘Direct Deposit Form (PDF) option. 
  4. The PDF opens in the browser for you to either download, print to .pdf, or make a physical copy.

Steps To Get A Scotiabank Void Cheque

To get a cheque through Scotiabank, using the online portal, follow these steps: 

  1. Log into your banking system through the Scotiabank portal.
  2. Choose the account that will connect to the check. 
  3. Click the button that says ‘Documents’ and choose the ‘Set up Direct Deposits & Payments’ section. 
  4. Select the ‘View Void Cheque’ option and a .pdf file arrives on the screen.
  5. Download the .pdf and print it off on your laptop or computer. 

Steps To Get A BMO Void Cheque

As one of Canada’s major banks, BMO has effective systems that let customers access void cheques online. Follow these steps to print off the document: 

  1. On a laptop or PC, navigate to your online banking portfolio. 
  2. Click on the ‘My Accounts’ section and choose the desired account. 
  3. Click the button that says ‘Void Cheque’ and the system sends you a sample check. 
  4. Open the document in a browser and download the file. 

Steps To Get A CIBC Void Cheque

To access a copy of a CIBC void cheque, you can take the following steps: 

  1. Navigate to your CIBC online banking portal on a computer or laptop. 
  2. Select the ‘My Accounts’ drop-down then identify the proper account. 
  3. Click on the ‘Deposit Account Details’ and navigate to ‘Void Cheque and Direct Deposit Info’.
  4. Click the print function and choose either to download to a .pdf file or to print a paper version. 

Void Cheque FAQs

Are there alternatives to void cheques?

Instead of using voiding a paper cheque consumers can print a direct deposit form from their online banking. 

How do you void a cheque? 

Voiding a cheque is simple. All it requires is a blue or black pen. Write VOID across the front side of the cheque. Make sure the word VOID covers the entire cheque.

What can a person do with your void cheque?

The recipient of your void cheque can use the information to process an electronic transaction to deposit money into your bank account. Many employers use this to pay wages. With authorization, you can also use a void cheque to process an automatic withdrawal to make insurance payments, for example. A void cheque, without extra authorization from the account holder, can only be used for deposits. 

What happens if you give a blank cheque? 

Voiding a cheque is important as a blank cheque can be used for unauthorized withdrawals. If the recipient of your void cheque has malicious indentions, they could fill it out and use it to withdraw money from your account.  

Final Thoughts

Only use void cheques with trusted companies to protect your account details. If you download a void cheque sample or direct deposit form to a shared computer, delete it from the device. For best results, use a PC or laptop since many mobile applications don’t offer this sample cheque feature. While you won’t likely require a new void cheque every day, from processing an auto loan to getting paid for a new contract, it’s a common need. Thankfully, online banking has made it easy and convenient to access this service so a void cheque is always there when you need one.

Corrina Murdoch avatar on Loans Canada
Corrina Murdoch

Corrina Murdoch has been a dedicated freelance writer and editor for several years. With an academic background in the sciences and a penchant for mathematics, she seeks to provide readers with accurate, reliable information on important topics. Working as a print journalist for several years, Corrina expanded her reach into the digital sphere to help more people gain insight into the realm of finances. When she's not writing, you can find Corrina swimming and spending time with family.

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