How to Stop Payment on a Check

Checks are written or processed to pay an obligation or to give money to another person. There are all kinds of checks that may be issued which include personal checks, business checks, government checks or checks from other agencies.

Gadini / Pixabay

Gadini / Pixabay

Every so often a person or organization may find a need to stop payment on a check. It could be the check was misrouted to the wrong recipient, lost, stolen or a dispute has arisen regarding the debt settlement or other agreement made in exchange for money.

Stopping a check is not a difficult process, but there are certain conditions and procedures that must be followed in order to successfully put a halt to funds being released. Here is what you need to know about how to stop payment on a check:

  • See if the check has been cashed
  • If not, contact your bank
  • Understand fees that you may be charged
  • Beware of any other conditions

Once you decide to stop payment on a check the first thing to do is contact your bank and let them know you need to put a halt on releasing funds connected with a specific check. There are a few ways you can do this.

  • Call your bank
  • Stop by the bank
  • See if your bank has an online method to cancel a check (most do these days)

When you initiate stop payment be sure you have your account number, check number and the exact amount of the check available. In addition, be prepared to answer any other questions the bank may ask to ensure you are the proper account owner.

Sometimes recipients will try and redeposit the check after a period of time. If the check hasn’t been tried to be cashed, the recipient may try again after six months or more. It’s important to be vigilant of this possibility. If the check was large you might want to look into options of shifting to a new checking account this way the bank will not honor a check from a closed account. 

It is important to know when you call to put a halt on the check, be sure and ask or research what the bank’s fees are for stopping payment. When a move is made to stop payment on a check, banks almost always charge fees. These fees are not usually cheap and can quickly add up if more than one check has to be stopped (fees are often $20 and upwards to stop payment). If the check is written for less than the fees that will be accumulated, this is worth considering.

Stopping payment on a check is often an expensive course of action to take. Be sure and know your options before you initiate action.


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