How to Stop Payment on a U.S. Bank Check

Always ask your bank for a courtesy waiver of the stop-payment fee.

A stop-payment on a check is a request for your bank to not honor a draft written on your account. Financial institutions in the United States have different account-level-specific rules for their customers, but the process of issuing a stop-payment is similar bank to bank. There are different reasons you might request a stop-payment, including, for example, that the check was written for an incorrect amount and, if cashed, would lead to an overdraft of your checking account. Most banks will charge a fee against your account for issuing the stop payment.


Step 1

Locate the routing and account number associated with your checking account. This information is located on the bottom of the check with the routing number being the first nine numbers listed from the left. Get the amount of the check, the date the check was written and the actual check number. If you have Internet checking with your bank, the checking and routing number can be retrieved online.


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Step 2

Find the bank's customer service phone number. You can also go to your local bank branch and stop payment on your check in person; in some cases, a stop-payment can be issued online. Check with your bank to determine what options it offers.

Step 3

Call your bank's customer service phone number. When a representative comes on the line, explain that you are requesting that a stop-payment be issued on a check. Provide the representative with your account number, the date of the check, the amount, the payee and the check number. Ask the representative if there is a fee associated with the transaction and determine if you have the funds in your account to cover the fee.



Keep copies of all stop-payment-related transactions for your records.


Be aware that depending on the circumstances, you may still be responsible to the payee for the amount of the check and any fees incurred. There are no criminal statutes in any state that would lead to criminal charges, but all states have civil remedies available to the payee. If you purchase merchandise or pay for a service and then stop the check, the payee can sue you for the amount of the check and any collection fees.



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