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Stop Payment on Check

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With more and more of us using debit cards on a daily basis, writing checks is becoming a thing of the past. Some transactions, however, still require a check to be written, which means that there is always the chance that you will have to stop payment on a check. Of all of the unreasonable banking fees that banks still charge today, maybe the most unreasonable is for a stop payment on a check. Some banks even require a letter written by a customer for a stop payment on a check to become official, although this practice is all but stopped. If your bank or credit union does require a letter, here is what you should include in it.

First, make sure that at any point during your statement where you use your name, include your account number with the bank. They likely don’t know you via your name so your account number is the only sure fire form of ID that you have.

Start the letter to your bank with your complete name, address, account number and the check number that you wish to put a stop to. In the first paragraph of your letter, simply state that the check was written for a particular purpose and that you wish to put a stop on it so that it isn’t paid out. You don’t really need to state a reason why you are doing this, just that you wish to put a stop on the check. The paragraph doesn’t have to be long or complicated, simply sign the letter at the bottom and you are essentially finished.

It is important to ask your bank on the phone when you call to put a stop on your check what they require in the letter. It is likely that your bank or credit union has their own set of terms that need to be honored for the stop check to be finalized. There could also be terms that need to be honored in your particular state or jurisdiction.

One important note that you need to ask you bank about is that some stop check requests have a time limit on them, frequently a year or sometimes just six months. If you believe that the person who you sent the check you’re stopping to will attempt to deposit or cash it at a later date, you will need to continue to issue stop check requests every six months to a year from the time the check was written. Make sure you ask your bank how long that check is good for so you know when you can stop sending out stop check requests.

If you are stopping a check you wrote to a business, it is probably a good idea to report that business to the local Better Business Bureau or even to law enforcement if you feel that they are engaging in deceptive advertising. If they have ripped off you, they have likely ripped off many other people as well.

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