Can You Cash a Ripped Check?

Yes, you can cash a ripped check. Here are the steps to take when you discover a check is ripped or torn.

Credit cards are more popular than ever these days, but there are still instances where you might need to cash a paper check. If you’ve never done this, it can be a bit of a stressful experience, but having a ripped check only increases those nerves. After all, if you’re not able to cash a check, you could be losing money.

It’s possible, in most cases, to cash a ripped check. However, you’ll want to inspect your check first before bringing it in to have it deposited by a teller at your bank. All checks must have the payer’s name, the payee’s name, the date, matching written and numerical amounts, account and routing numbers, and issuer. If your check doesn’t have all of these, it doesn’t matter if it’s ripped or not—you won’t be able to cash it.

If you’re not sure how to cash a ripped check, check out our guide below. We’ll answer all your questions regarding a ripped check and guide you towards where you can cash it as long as it’s got all the right information. You’ve got quite a few options, so don’t throw that check away just yet. 

Ready to cash in? Let’s begin.

Ripped Check FAQs

If we haven’t answered your question completely yet, check out these frequently asked questions for more information.

What happens if you rip a check?

If you rip a check, you may have trouble cashing it in a typical fashion. However, you should never try to repair the check with tape, as the check is printed with special ink and the tape could make it unreadable. If you rip a check, bring it to your nearest branch for assistance.

Is a slightly ripped check still valid?

Depending on where the rip is, a slightly ripped check could still be valid. As long as no important information such as the payer, payee, date, amount, account number, routing number, or issuer has been damaged, the check should still be cashable. However, the final word rests with your bank.

Can Walmart cash a ripped check?

Walmart charges a fee for their check cashing services. Like any other financial institution, Walmart has the right to refuse to cash a ripped check. It all depends on how damaged the check is. You can also try 7-Eleven or other stores that accept ripped checks.

Can I deposit a ripped check in an ATM?

It’s not a good idea to try to deposit a ripped check in an ATM. Most ATMs include fast-moving parts that won’t stop if they encounter a ripped check. In fact, the ATM could increase the damage to the check if you try to cash it, so it’s always a good idea to bring it in and have it inspected by a teller.

Is a Ripped Check Still Valid?

Before you even try to cash a damaged check, you’ll want to make sure it’s worth the effort. Below are a few crucial details you should inspect carefully, as they’re necessary to cash any check, whether it’s ripped or not. Without these details, your check isn’t worth more than the paper it’s printed on.

Payer Name

The payer’s name can commonly be found on the upper left-hand corner of the check. This is the person or account from which the check’s amount will come from in order to pay you.

Whether it’s from an individual or a business, that information should come on the first line. The second and any other remaining lines often list the address of the payer. In this way, it’s similar to a letter you might receive in the mail.

If you’ve received the check in payment for something, you should be familiar with the payer’s information. Keep it handy, as it might become useful later on if the check doesn’t clear. You’ll have to contact the payer to return the ripped check and request a new one. 

Payee Name

You are typically the payee, or the individual to whom the check is made out. In certain cases, there can be multiple payees. This happens when the check is made out to a business. If there is more than one payee, everyone listed will need to endorse the check in order for it to cash.

In inspecting the check, make sure your name (and any other payees’ names) is correct. Spelling could be grounds for rejecting a check, ripped or not. Yes, something as simple as an extra or missing letter could mean the difference between getting paid and taking a loss.

Date

Numbers are important on a check, and the date is no exception. Be sure the check you have is not post-dated, meaning the date upon the check is in the future. You cannot cash a post-dated check and must wait until that time in order to cash it.

If the check you have is also six months old or more, large banks have the right to refuse to cash it. That’s why it’s always a good idea to cash a check soon after you receive it.

If you do find yourself with an old check, even if it’s only a month old, you may have trouble cashing it. Many folks keep a close eye on their bank accounts and if they don’t see that check having been cashed, they may cancel it. If you’re unsure whether or not it’s too late to cash a check, you should check with the payer to ensure it’s still valid.

Amount

Checks are no good unless the amount written out underneath the payee matches the numerical amount to the right of that. Ensure that these amounts are correct and identical. Be sure that the writing, both in terms of the written-out and numerical amounts, is legible. Tellers won’t just guess which number you meant. They’ll need a verified amount in order to proceed with cashing the check. 

If there’s any discrepancy between the amounts, typically the written amount trumps the numerical amount. It’s much easier to change a few numbers than scratch out the written amount if you’re trying to commit check fraud. 

Account and Routing Number

The account and routing number on every check are absolutely crucial. These are the numbers that reference where the money comes from in order to pay you and correspond to the issuing bank. 

While you probably won’t know if these numbers are correct, it’s important to make sure they’re there on the check. Most routing and account numbers are located at the bottom of the check, but some banks will place them in other spots.

Issuer

The account and routing number correspond to the bank where the payer keeps their money. But in order to cash a check, you’ll also need a signature from the person who holds that account. This individual is known as the issuer.

Signature lines can often be found at the bottom right corner of the check. If a check is not signed, it’s not valid, so be sure to obtain a signature before you try to cash that check.

Related: 8 Best Places to Get a Money Order

Best Ways to Cash a Ripped Check

If you find yourself working with a ripped check, don’t get discouraged. There are many ways you can cash a ripped check, as long as the bank you’re working with approves it.

Retailer

Many retailers offer cashier’s checks and check-cashing services, but make money doing so by charging a fee. Most grocery stores offer check-cashing transactions but will require an identification such as a driver’s license in order to do so.

You’ll have to abide by the same parameters you’d find at a bank, so the check’s specifics should be up to snuff. That said, cashing your check at a retailer could save you a trip as you do your shopping.

Teller

Cashing a ripped check by bringing it to a teller is one of the best and most common ways to determine whether or not your check is valid. In fact, it’s probably your best option when it comes to these types of checks.The teller will inspect your check and may perform some repairs if necessary. Don’t be shy! Ripped checks happen more often than you think.

Having a teller repair your check with tape is a better alternative to taping it up yourself. Checks are printed with a special ink that’s read specifically by a machine to ensure validity; tape could obscure the ink and cause it not to read right. Allow the teller to repair the check if need be and you’ll stand a much better chance of having your check cashed.

ATM

Depending on where and how badly your check is ripped, cashing it with an ATM could be possible. Small rips in the middle of the sides of the check shouldn’t cause much issue.

However, it’s all up to the rollers and how they move the check through the ATM. You do run the risk of causing further ripping if the machine does catch the check and shred it, so be cautious. If you’re in doubt, walk in to chat with a teller.

Mobile App

The modern technology of mobile banking allows many of us to deposit our checks via a mobile device. This works out well for ripped checks because you only have to take a picture of the check, not actually run it through an ATM. This can save you from losing a check in the machine and losing out on the money.

At the same time, some bank apps may not accept a ripped check. Again, you’ll need to make sure that the important details of the check are not obscured or damaged in any way. If they are, bring it into your bank’s local branch in order to have it inspected and potentially cashed. A lot of scams derive from attempts to cash counterfeit checks, so it’s in the best interest of the bank to inspect damaged checks before cashing them.

Other Cashing Options

If you’re not satisfied with the above options, there are a few last-ditch attempts you can make.

One of them is to cash your checks onto a prepaid card. This card works like a gift card in the sense that each purchase deducts from the pre-loaded amount. You’ll have to reload the card in order to use it again. However, you may be subject to a monthly fee, but you’ll have to check the bank’s website to learn more about their specific terms. 

Prepaid cards are a great way to budget and stick to it. You can also choose to enroll in direct deposit. This way, your money goes straight into your checking account and you won’t have to worry about ripped or damaged checks. Rather than waiting the next business day before your check balances are available, they can be active as soon as they clear your bank. 

The final thing you can do with a ripped check is to request a replacement one. Many individuals and businesses will ask for the ripped check back in order to void and destroy it, so be ready to hand it over if requested. Requesting a replacement check shouldn’t be an issue, as we’ve all had mishaps now and again. Just be polite and honest and you should have no issue acquiring the replacement check.

Related: What Stores Accept Venmo?

Can You Cash a Ripped Check?

Checks that are not severely ripped or damaged can oftentimes be cashed as long as they include all the critical elements we discussed above. It’s best to bring a ripped check in to your bank and speak with a teller. They can help you in repairing the check if necessary and determining whether or not the check is cashable.

How to Avoid Damaged Checks

Finding yourself in a situation where you have to deposit a ripped check isn’t necessarily a fun thing. Before you even head over to cash the check, inspect it as soon as you get it. Make sure the details are correct, and if they aren’t, have the issuer correct the mistakes right away. This way you can avoid any future headaches.

It’s also a good idea to cash checks as soon as you receive them, too. This cuts down on any opportunities where a rip might occur. You can cash a check in many ways, from ATMs and local retailers to mobile deposits on your phone. We hope you’ve found this article helpful in determining what to do with your ripped check. Stay tuned for more articles on personal finance.

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