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How to Properly Read a Void Cheque

Written by Jessica Steer
Have you ever heard the term void cheque? You've probably seen one as well since it's essentially a blank cheque that says void on it. Why, though? What are they used for? How do you read them? Why does it say void instead of being blank?
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    These are all good questions. If you've never seen one before, you would have no idea but they are important and do contain your direct deposit information.

    What is a VOID Cheque?

    A void cheque is essentially a blank cheque that has VOID written across it. This is there so the cheque can't be cashed. All of your bank account information is on that cheque so, if it was blank, someone could use it to take money out of your account.

    A void cheque is linked to your chequing account and allows you to set up electronic transactions. Depending on what the void cheque is being used for, only certain information will be used. While cheques cost money, void cheques don't. They are included in your monthly fees.

    The Numbers on the Cheque and What They Mean

    When you look at any cheque, whether it's VOID or not, you will notice that there are numbers at the bottom. 4 sets of numbers that are broken up to be specific. Each set of numbers is important for cashing a cheque or setting up a direct deposit/debit.

    If you look at the bottom of the cheque and find the sets of numbers, the first set is the cheque number. This tells you what number from your cheque book it is allowing you to track. This can be through your own records or with the bank. The 3 other sets of numbers are related to your bank account.

    Transit Number

    The second set of numbers, after the cheque number, is the transit number. This number refers to the transit number. The transit number is the bank branch that your account was created as, also known as your “home” branch. If you bank with an institution that doesn't have any physical branches then the transit number will be the same for everyone. The transit number is also sometimes referred to as the branch number.

    Financial Institution Number

    The third set of numbers is the bank institution number. Every bank and financial institution will have their own number assigned to them. For example:

    • RBC - their institution number is 003
    • TD - their institution number is 004
    • Scotiabank - their institution number is 002
    • BMO - their institution number is 001
    • CIBC - their institution number is 010

    Account Number

    The last set of numbers is your bank account number that the cheque is linked to. This number will have somewhere around 7 - 12 digits. Each financial institution has a different amount of numbers that make up an account number.

    Cheques From Different Banks

    As we mentioned, depending on which financial institution that you bank with, the bank numbers at the bottom of your cheque. Even the account number will look different. The cheque will also identify what the financial institution is and the account owners name an address at the top left corner on the cheque. Even if they are all Canadian banks, they should still be slightly different.


    With RBC, you will find the transit number, institution number and account number at the bottom of the cheque. The institution number will be 003 and the account number should be 7 digits with two spaces. To find a sample cheque, you can do that through your online banking. If you are looking for your routing number then you will combine your institution number and transit number, adding a 0 in front.


    Just like an RBC cheque, all of your account numbers will be at the bottom of your Scotiabank cheque. The main differences are that the institution number is 002 and the 7 digit account number only has one dash/space. You can also find the routing number the same way.


    As you may have noticed, there is only a subtle difference between how all of the cheques are laid out. The difference with a TD cheque is that the institution number is 004 and the account number is 7 digits with no dashes or spaces. The routing number can be found the same way as with other institutions.


    With a cheque from CIBC, the institution number will be 010. The account number will have 7 digits with one dash. The routing number can also be found combining the institution and transit numbers then adding a 0 in front.


    With a BMO cheque, the institution number will be 010. The account number is 7 digits long with one dash. The routing number can also be determined in the same way as the others.

    How to Get a Void Cheque

    Getting a void cheque is actually pretty easy and there are a few different ways to do it.

    1. Use your cheque book: If you have cheques, the easiest way to get a void cheque is to take a cheque and write VOID on it. This way it can't be cashed,
    2. In person: You can request one from the bank. They will print one off for you right there.
    3. Online: When you log into your online banking, you will be able to select a void cheque or direct deposit form option. You can then print that off or send an electronic link, depending on your financial institution.

    Void Cheque vs Direct Deposit Form

    You may be wondering what the difference is between a direct deposit form and a void cheque and if they're the same thing. While they are very similar, they aren't the same thing. That said though, they are used for the same purposes.

    A direct deposit form is essentially a form from the bank containing the same information as a voided cheque. This form is required when you start a new position so your employer can directly deposit the money into your account. A void cheque is used for direct debits.

    If you don't need the actual form in order to set up your pre authorized debits and pre authorized debits, many financial institutions will supply your banking details in your online blanking through your daily bank statement.

    Reasons to Get a Void Cheque

    If you haven't had to get a Void cheque before, there are plenty of reasons why you might need one.

    Set Up Direct Deposits

    One common use for direct deposit forms and VOID cheques is to set up direct deposit for a new job. The payroll department will take the information and use that to put the money directly in your account. While a black cheque does contain the same information, you do want to be sure that your finances are safe. With that said, make sure the VOID isn't covering any of your banking information.

    Set Up Automatic Payments

    You can use a void cheque to set up automated payments for some of your monthly bills like insurance, rent, vehicle payments, and other bills. This is a great idea if you think there may be a risk of you forgetting to pay your bills. It keeps everything organized and on time.

    For Security Reasons

    If you have already written a cheque but made a mistake or no longer need to use it, writing VOID on it makes it unusable. To make sure you properly void a cheque, the word void must be in large letters written across it. Voided cheques cannot be used to withdraw money unless its to set up recurring expenses, you can't add a random amount and withdraw the money.


    While cheques aren't as common as they used to be, many people still need access to VOID cheques. Whether you print one off from your online account, get it from the bank or directly from your cheque book, they all have the same use.

    The great thing about banking becoming more digitized is that you have access to a VOID cheque at any time. There can be plenty of situations that occur where you may need a VOID cheque and not have one on you.

    No matter what you use a VOID cheque for though, they can be a very handy way to help organize your life. They can even help you keep your finances on track in order to meet your financial goals.

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