Did you make a mistake while writing a check, and want to be able to correct without having to write another one?
For checks written by hand, this is incredibly common, and can lead you to wonder – is white out allowed on a check? And if not, what should you use to correct the check instead?
In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know!
Can You Use White Out On A Check?
No, white out should never be used on a check. If you use white out on a check, it may be considered as tampering, and the bank will reject the check when you go to deposit or cash it.
While there are things you can do to correct mistakes without having to write a new check entirely, there is never a circumstance where white out should be used – even if it’s only to correct a minor mistake.
Remember that banks are responsible for ensuring the checks they receive are legitimate.
If they believe that they have been modified or tampered in any way that may cause the check to be fraudulent, they will err on the side of caution and refuse to accept the check.
While most banks have their own guidelines on what they will accept and what they won’t, white out is almost always universally rejected due to its potential to mask key information.
So, if you need to correct a mistake, do it without white out!
How To Correct A Mistake On A Check
If you want your check to be accepted, there are a few guidelines you’ll need to follow when making the corrections.
If you do it wrong, the check will need to be voided, and a new check will need to be written.
So, follow these tips to correct the check in a manner that the bank is likely to accept!
1. Cross Out The Incorrect Area With One, Clear Line
Part of the reason white out isn’t accepted, is because it hides what was originally there.
When you are going to cross out a section of the check, avoid hiding the old information entirely. Instead, make one, clear line through the old information in blue or black ink (but never with pencil), and ensure that whatever was written before is still visible.
This way, the bank can compare the old information to the new information, to make sure nothing drastic was changed.
If you hide the old information, the bank is more likely to assume that extreme changes have been made, and reject the check entirely for safety purposes.
2. Write The Correction Above It
Once you’ve crossed out the mistake, next you’ll need to write the correct information above the mistake area, keeping it in the same section of the check.
This can be difficult, especially since many checks don’t leave much extra room!
So, be sure to write with clear, legible handwriting, and leave yourself enough space to write out the entire correction in full.
You may consider writing future checks with a fine point pen to make smaller handwriting easier.
Note that it may not be a good idea to switch pens from what has already been used – especially if it makes your handwriting look different.
3. Initial Near The Change
Next, initial near where the change was made, as close to the change as possible.
This can help prove that you authenticated the change, and it wasn’t forged by someone else.
Should you use your middle initial? It depends.
Typically, you’ll want to sign it just like you would when you normally write your signature anywhere else. So if you typically sign with your middle name, you should use your middle initial as well.
Otherwise, it’s fine to leave it out.
4. Only Make Corrections To Certain Areas
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that you can’t make corrections to all areas of the check.
For example, banks will really accept checks that have had the amount of money modified, nor are they likely to accept checks in which the recipient’s name has been heavily modified.
While minor changes to things like the date or minor misspellings may be acceptable, it is completely up to the bank’s discretion as to what they’ll accept, and what they won’t.
Needless to say, the bigger the mistakes, the more important the mistakes, and the more frequent the mistakes, the less likely the bank is to accept the check.
If the changes you need to make are significant, it is best to void the check and write a new one. You can void the check by writing ‘VOID’ across the front of the check in capital letters.
If the check has already been given away, contact your bank immediately and explain the situation.
Not All Corrections Will Be Accepted, However
As mentioned earlier, not all corrections will be accepted by your bank, or the recipient’s bank.
This is true even if you do everything right, avoid the use of white out, and make corrections in areas that are generally considered safe.
So, if it’s not too much of a hassle, you may consider voiding the check and writing a new one anyway.
Ultimately, this can prevent more headaches later on, while ensuring the check can be cashed or deposited without any further issues.
Unfortunately, white out cannot be used to make corrections, or hide mistakes on a check.
However, by clearly crossing out the problem area and initialing the change, you may be able to make corrections to certain areas of the check.
I hope that you’ve found this article helpful, and that it’s answered your questions. If you have any other questions about writing checks, please ask them using the comment form below.
Wishing you the best,
– James McAllister