You can cancel a check if you make a mistake or it gets lost. Here’s how to fix it

  • If you need to cancel a check, first view your account to make sure it hasn’t been cashed yet.
  • Most financial institutions will allow you to issue a stop payment for checks or ACH transfers.
  • Many financial institutions may charge a fee to cancel a check that’s up to $45.
  • Read more stories from Personal Finance Insider.

Banking mistakes can happen. Perhaps you noticed you wrote down the wrong amount on a payment, or your recipient lost your check. In these situations, you may still be able to correct the issue if you respond promptly. 

We’ll guide you through steps you can take to cancel a check so the check won’t go through.

How do you cancel a check?

The first step is to make sure the check hasn’t already gone through. Once it’s cashed or deposited, you won’t be able to issue any last-minute changes through your bank.

Check your bank account online to see if the payment has already been processed. If your recipient hasn’t used your check, most financial institutions will allow you to cancel a payment online or through customer service by issuing a stop payment.

What is a stop payment? 

A stop payment occurs when a bank customer permits a financial institution to cancel a transaction. 

Most financial institutions allow you to place a stop payment for personal checks. Many, such as Regions Bank, also let you place stop payments for ACH debit transfers if you aren’t using a paper check.

Alicia Anger, corporate media and public relations vice president of Regions Bank, says if you’re making an ACH transfer, you should also contact the company to cancel your payment since a stop payment doesn’t prevent them from requesting money.

How to place a stop payment online

To cancel a check online, log in to mobile or online banking. 

Some banks will let you cancel a check online by clicking on a specific bank account. Other financial institutions may have a tab for “customer service” or “account services,” which allows you to change or modify account transactions. 

You’ll input the check number, amount, payee information, and a reason for placing the stop payment. Once you verify the information, the bank will process your request.

How to place a stop payment through customer service 

If your bank doesn’t offer a way to cancel a check online, you can reach out to your bank’s customer support or visit a local branch.

You’ll need to provide the following information to authorize a stop payment and verify your identity:

  • Name of the check recipient
  • Account number of your checking account, US ID, or alternative identification card
  • Number, date, and amount of check 

How much does it cost to cancel a check? 

If you need to cancel a check, you might pay a bank fee. Below, you’ll find the stop payment fee for the biggest financial institutions. 

Financial Institution Stop payment fee
Alliant Credit Union $0 or $25
Ally $15
America First Credit Union $15 or $45
Bank of America $0 or $30
Bethpage Federal Credit Union $30
Capital One $25
Chase $0 or $30
Citibank $0 or $30
Citizens Bank $35
Consumers Credit Union $30
Discover Bank $0
First Citizens Bank $23 or $35
Huntington Bank $31
KeyBank $34
Navy Federal Credit Union $20 or $25
Pentagon Federal Credit Union $20 or $30
PNC Bank $33
Regions Bank $0 or $36
Security Service Credit Union $5 or $25
TD Bank $0 or $30
Truist Bank $0 or $35
US Bank $20 or $35
Vystar Credit Union $0
Wells Fargo $0 to $31

What happens if a stop payment check is cashed? 

Stop payments are usually put in place soon after you make the request. For example, Anger says at Regions Bank, stop payments placed online, at a branch, or through customer support take effect within one business day.

Stop payments may remain in effect for six months to a year. After that, your check will be expire, and the recipient still won’t be able to deposit or cash it because it will bounce.