Can You Cash A Ripped Check? What To Do With Torn, Damaged & Ripped Checks

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When coming across a torn, damaged, or ripped check there can oftentimes be a whirlwind of questions and concerns.

The main concern obviously being, “Can you cash a ripped check?”

In this article, we’ll deep dive into the biggest question and what you can do to get your money

Spoiler alert: You can actually get your money in most cases.

So without going on too much, let’s dive right into if you can cash ripped money and how to do it.

Table of Contents

Who/Where You Can Get A Valid Check?

Before anything, it’s important that the check is actually valid and from a trustworthy source.

The unfortunate truth is that people are out there to rip money out of your pockets with tactics that can be unseen.

When it comes to banks and money, it’s important to be sure the check is valid before it’s cashed.

This can save you from an awkward situation.

If you try to cash a bad check you’ll have to pay bank fees, plus take additional steps to actually receive your money.

Make Sure Your Check Is Legit

The first step is making sure the person who sent you the check is legit and trustworthy. 

If they’ve sent you a check for winning their sweepstake, lottery, or even just a prize, its more than likely that it’s a scam. 

Unfortunately, you don’t know every person or what their intentions are. The best-case scenario is that their account has insufficient funds. 

If that’s the best-case scenario, then what’s the worst case?

Well, the check writer can withdraw funds before you have the chance to deposit it.

So what if you’re faster than them?

That doesn’t work for a couple of reasons.

The first reason is you won’t know if they’re trying to scam you.

Second of all, when you deposit the check, it will still take a few days for the money to actually show up in your account.

Within that time they can withdraw the money and carry on.

This tactic can really hurt businesses in particular.

Be Aware Of Stolen Details

Another thing to keep in mind is that the check you’ve received could be stolen or their checking account could be using stolen details.

The original owner may be honest and have funds but they can easily reverse the money when they see a fraudulent transaction.

When it comes to verifying a valid check it’s important to know who/where you receive valid checks from.

Finding Valid Sources For Checks: Banks And Vendors

There are pretty much only 2 options to find a valid source for checks. The first and most common is your bank.

The second would be a trusted vendor.

Using A Bank

Banks are usually best because everything is already set up for you, and oftentimes it can easily be done online.

If it’s your first time ordering checks they may require you to visit the bank in person.

The process is very simple. All they will need is your login info and for first-timers, they’ll need to check your identity.

After a few questions, you’ll likely need to update any information that may have changed or confirm that everything has stayed the same. 

Now that everything is completed, it’s just a waiting game. They will either mail you a checkbook or you’ll have to pick it up from your bank in person. Regardless, they’re relatively cheap to order and cost about $25 on average.

Using A Vendor

When it comes to getting checks through a vendor, it’ll be a little trickier and may require more identification to help prevent fraud.

Ordering through a vendor will bring the possibility of a better deal than compared to your bank.

To start, you’ll want to search “order checks online” or cheap check orders”. 

Once you’ve found a vendor that seems legit, be sure to check reviews to confirm they’re a legit vendor. 

When going with a vendor they require much more info such as:

  • Bank’s routing number
  • Checking account number
  • Your address and phone number
  • The number you want checks to start on
  • The date you opened your checking account

After a few more questions and requirements you’ll place the order and wait for them to arrive via mail. 

When you receive your checkbook, make sure to verify that they’re legit or you could end up in a lot of trouble. 

So now that we’ve gone through everything to look for in scams and how to properly acquire checks, what are the characteristics of a valid check? Are there some key things to look for? 

Characteristics Of A Valid Check

When verifying a check it’s vital to check for key things as you don’t want to be scammed. The good news is, it can be pretty easy to identify legit/fake ones. 

Here are the main parts to examine if a check is legit: 

  • Bank phone number
  • Verify the bank by looking it up
  • Look for security features such as a security screen on the back, microprinting on the signature line, and the words “original document” on the back of the check
  • Check how much the check is written for. A lot of times scammers will write more than what they’re supposed to pay
  • Check for any discoloration or smudges as this can point towards an altered check

Verifying a check can be a little tedious if you check all of them, but it will save you a headache and money that’s rightfully yours.

If you have a torn, damaged, or ripped check its often smarter to just cash it with the teller.

Cash The Ripped Check With A Teller

When it comes to a check that is torn or damaged, there are a few different ways to cash them.

One of the easiest ways is to go through a teller. This route typically has the most success.

The reason for that is because, with an automated machine, it can’t work for you and tries to help you out.

With machines, it’s either accepted or declined and no in-between. So if you try to deposit them it might not be in your favor. 

That’s why going through a teller will be the most successful.

Step 1: Find The Nearest Branch

The very first step to getting your check approved is to find the nearest branch. This can be done by simply searching your bank’s name online.

Chances are you won’t have to travel far as it’s the bank you decided to go with.

Step 2: Proper Documents

Before heading out to the bank you’ll want to make sure you have the proper I.D to have everything approved. You can use any form of I.D such as driver’s license, passport, military I.D, etc. 

Also, make sure you have your debit card as most banks will require them. If you don’t have one you’ll likely need to fill out a form to acquire one. These can cost roughly $5 depending on your bank.

Step 3: Give Them A Notice

When depositing the check just let them know about any damage to the check.

Giving them a heads up will likely increase their willingness to help you through the process. 

Step 4: Check Your Bank’s Policy

Most banks will not charge a fee for depositing a check but some may – depending on the bank. In some banks, you’ll need to directly deposit the check into your account rather than getting cash.

Be sure to know your bank’s policy beforehand.

Lots Of Benefits Of Going With A Teller

The major benefit of depositing checks with a teller is that they won’t give automated responses as an ATM would.

Most of the time they’ll be willing to help and work with you throughout the process. This can be very beneficial with any torn or damaged checks.

They will also help you work through the process of fraud if that unfortunately happens. 

For business, a damaged or torn check can be detrimental and hurt your business by a large amount. Going through a teller they’ll be able to help you step-by-step on what to do and how you can avoid future problems. 

It’s also important to note that most banks will require a signature on the back of the check. This step can be very easily forgotten.

For smaller amounts, they will usually let it slide. But for larger amounts you’ll want to sign the back.

This helps them avoid fraud and know that it’s really you.

So if you’re debating on going through a tell or ATM, the safest, and best way is through a teller.

This will ensure you’re going to have the best chance of getting a check deposited into your bank account.

Going through an ATM will provide speed and convenience but has the possibility of not accepting the check. 

Deposit The Check Electronically

If you’re looking for speed and convenience then maybe depositing a check electronically is a perfect option for you.

With the capabilities of depositing your check literally worldwide, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Or does it?

Before we dive into the negatives about mobile banking will first go over the positives and why it might be good. 

Let’s face it, nobody really wants to drive to the bank and wait for either an ATM or teller, that reason right there is why 38% of the nation choose to do online banking over in person.

Everybody wants speed and convenience – for good reason too.

Another great reason to do mobile banking is the availability that it offers, you can literally do it anytime, anywhere. So whether you’re on lunch break and received a check from a friend. Or out in Guam for a week and decided that it would be a good time to deposit your check. 

Regardless of where or what time it is, you’ll always be able to deposit your check unlike traditional forms of depositing money.

Next, the benefit of going paperless. 

With virtual access, there will be no more annoying receipts and junk mail from your bank. This is great for anyone that loves to keep things simple.

Following the simplicity, you’ll also have full control over money, all from a device in your hand.

So if you deposited a check into your savings and not checking account, well then just simply transfer it over within seconds. It sounds crazy but it’s really that easy.

Finally, mobile banking and depositing checks are safe.

Although it can sound scary sending over a check virtually. Most banks and financial institutions use encryption to safeguard and protect your personal info and any checks that are deposited into your bank account.

If you have any worries just give your bank or financial institution a call and ask about re safety of their mobile banking.

Although speed and convenience are great there are still a few drawbacks when it comes to electronically deposit a check. 

The first negative is that not all phones support mobile banking, this means you cant deposit a check virtually. Also, keep in mind that not all banks offer mobile banking.

The other disadvantage is the safety factor. Although most banks are secure and safe, not all of them might be. So be sure to give them a call and figure out exactly how they’re keeping your info safe.

The final disadvantage will have the most impact. 

Going through a virtual device will bring security to the eyes of the bank. This will cause long delays in processing time. It can take up to 10 days to receive your money depending on the bank and how much the check was written for.

The positives of virtually depositing a check outweigh the negative by a large margin, it’s beyond worth it to anyone looking for speed and convenience. 

Just think about how much easier it is to take a minute out of your day and instantly have your check deposited.

Rather than taking 30 minutes to an hour taking a  trip to the bank and waiting in long lines.

Cash The Check With An ATM

The perfect mix of safe and speed would be going through the ATM. This route will involve some driving but in the end, it will be much faster than going through a teller.

It’s also much more secure than an untrustworthy online bank.

With many benefits of anything will come some negatives, for starters will be going over the positives of choosing an ATM.

When going through an ATM most thanks will put the funds directly into your account with no hold. Others may take a little longer depending on how much you’re depositing.

Another small benefit is they won’t always require I.D so if you’re having one of those days at least you’ll be able to deposit a check even if you forget your license.

ATM’s are all around the world, this will allow for easy access to withdrawing and depositing any money. It’s better to have it with your bank but obviously that won’t always be the case.

If you don’t use an ATM with your bank there’s typically a little fee that you’ll need to pay.

For travelers, ATM’s can be huge.

Having the satisfaction of knowing where an ATM is can literally save your life. Maybe your card doesn’t work or you just need some cash to have some fun. Regardless, an ATM will always be around you to save the day. 

ATM’s are similar to drive-thrus. After a long day’s work the last thing anyone wants to do is walk in, wait in a line, and talk and try to figure everything out.

Instead just pull up, cash your check and youtube good to go.

As stated before there are some negatives involved with an ATM.

The first problem is if it’s not directly linked to your bank, you’ll likely be paying a fee. This can hurt but you’ll have no choice if you need cash on the spot. 

Another disadvantage is if you live in rural areas. With a smaller population and town, there will be a lot less ATM’s conveniently placed around the town.

This can make it hard and even completely destroy the purpose of an ATM. 

Another thing to keep in mind is ATM’s are automated. This means they will either accept or not accept your check. Oftentimes there can be a misunderstanding and it will reject your check for no reason at all. 

This can be a huge problem for any checks that have been torn or damaged in any way. Which will probably end up leaving with no choice but to go to the teller inside.

The final problem that happens with an ATM is they can run out of money.

There’s no worse feeling than waiting patiently for your turn at the ATM and when you arrive, there’s a mechanical error or just not enough cash to withdraw. 

So, if you’re looking to cash a check that has some damage, it’s always worth giving an ATM a shot but there’s a decent chance you’ll end up going into the teller to have them take a look for you. 

Use A Prepaid Card

Prepaid cards are very beneficial to anyone that wants to deposit and withdraw checks from ATMs.

When going with a prepaid card you’ll be able to have a direct deposit.

This is great to avoid checks completely. With the ability for your employer to send you a payment directly you’ll no longer have to hold or even need to make a trip to the bank. You’ll be able to spend the money instantly as well.

4 Benefits Of Prepaid Cards

There are many, many benefits of a prepaid card, so let’s dive right into it.

1. No Credit Check

When banks hand out prepaid cards, they won’t be running a credit check.

This is great news for anyone that might be struggling with their credit. Now there’s no worry as they hand them out to anyone as long as the check is accepted.

2. No Overspending

Another benefit is the fact that you can’t overspend.

This will help keep your credit inline or on the rise. Without the temptation to spend more money than you have, there won’t be any risk involved.

3. Can Use Locally And Online

Moving on from credit issues, one benefit that helps everyone is the ability to use it online or in-store.

With a regular check only some stores will accept and no online source will be able to take the check. But with a prepaid card, you can use it anywhere at any time.

4. They Can Help Pay Your Bills

Next, the benefit of being able to pay your bills. This can be huge for anyone that regularly receives checks and would rather have it go straight to your bank account. 

3 Disadvantages of Prepaid Cards

With every positive, there will be some negatives. The good news is the positives outweigh the negatives.

1. You Might Receive Checks

For starters, the biggest disadvantage would be that you’ll still receive checks from time to time. Whether it’s from relatives, friends, etc. 

With prepaid, there will be spending limits which won’t allow you to receive help if you need it.

2. The Fees

The unfortunate truth about prepaid cards is that there will be either annual or monthly fees based on your bank account.

So even though you’ll eliminate checks, for the most part, you’ll still be hit with some fees.

3. No Interest

Not earning interest can usually push people away from prepaid cards.

This means the money you store in the account won’t benefit you long term.

With an account that builds interest, you’ll be earning an additional percentage that your bank offers. This is great if you keep a lot of money stored in an account.

But with prepaid that’s just not possible, unfortunately.

There Are Pros And Cons To Prepaid Cards

So when it comes to prepaid cards, there’s a lot of positives as well as negatives.

The major benefits are that you’ll be able to almost completely eliminate checks which will remove the risk of damaging the check or any scams.

You’ll also be able to have the money deposited directly into your account if your employer has the capabilities of that.

The negatives are that you won’t be able to build interest over time. As well as you might still receive checks from others.

All in all, the decision is up to you. But here is the big question – Can you deposit a ripped check?

Can A Torn Or Ripped Check Be Cashed?

When it comes to depositing a ripped or torn check, the best answer is it depends.

Unfortunately, there’s not an exact answer for everyone as it depends where the rip is. Well, dive deeper into what you can do and what will typically still be able to be deposited.

The other thing to take a look at is if the check is being deposited into an ATM, teller, or mobile banking.

Where Can The Rips Be?

First, we’ll start with where the rips can and can’t be. 

If there happens to be a rip over important info such as signature, serial number, routing number, etc. then you might be out of luck, and it’ll be best to just seek a replacement check.

But it’s always worth checking with your bank as all banks will have a different policy.

But maybe (hopefully) the rip is in a small and unimportant place such as a corner of the check.

With a place like this, there won’t be much affected in terms of important info.

These checks will usually be accepted.

An ATM might not like it but a teller will accept it in most cases.

What About Damages Or Spills?

The final thing that can likely mess up or ruin a check is any damage or spills.

Accidents happen but a spill can ruin a check completely which will result in them likely not accepting it based on how bad it is.

So now the question comes, what and who will accept torn or damaged checks?

ATM’s will likely give the biggest issues. This is because it examines the entire check and will need to match the specifications perfectly. 

ATM’s are typically very strict, either it’s accepted or it’s not. They aren’t humans which means they won’t be able to work with you or help you figure it out.

So unfortunately if you have a ripped check, an ATM is probably not the best route to take.

When Mobile Banking Declines Your Check

The next in order of not accepting is mobile banking.

With this method you’ll need to put your check in the camera, the good news is you might be able to fix the check enough to trick the camera. 

Obviously don’t alter the entire check but fixing it to get a good photo might just do the job.

If mobile banking and ATM are unsuccessful the best option is to just go to the teller. With this option, you’ll be able to work with a highly experienced human that can work directly in your favor.

They’ll take a look and decide whether they can accept the check based on the bank’s policies. But they’ll likely do their absolute best to help you out.

It Depends

So the simple answer is it depends on a few factors.

The very best chance of getting a damaged or torn check deposited is to go with the teller as they can directly help you.

With an ATM it’ll be pretty strict and likely not accept it.

Finally, online banking is a great second option as you might be able to temporarily fix the check and get it deposited.

Will Banks Accept A Ripped Check?

When trying to get a torn check approved by a bank solely depends on the bank and their policies.

Some may want to do everything they can to help you while others might not want anything to do with it.

Why Wouldn’t Banks Want To Help?

A common question is “Why wouldn’t they want to help?”

The main reason a bank wouldn’t be able to help you is they want to avoid fraud at all costs.

They don’t know you or your intentions and they’ll need to treat everyone the same.

Which unfortunately hurts the vast majority of people that truly just want to get their money for a check that was accidentally ripped or torn.

Here are some common responses and ways to possibly get them to accept your check.

Use Tape

If you plan to use a taped check be sure it’s invisible tape so they can still read everything. That’s what’s most important to them.

Bring I.D.

Another tip is to bring your I.D. With more trust they’re more likely to help. 

The parts of the check that are most important to keep clean and legible are the signature, account number, routing number, and bank name. 

The bank may decide to reject the check if any of those are missing.

Honesty Is Extremely Important

Your best bet is to go in with all honesty.

Just explain exactly how it happened and come prepared with any documents that might be helpful to you.

One tip would be to even call ahead and see if they’ll accept the check.

Even if they give you a no, it’s still worth going in and to show them everything.

Another tip that can be useful is giving the bank the check was drawn from and see if they’ll be able to help you.

For example, if it’s Bank of America, then take it to them and explain exactly what happened. 

If your check is declined you’ll have to take it back to the person, bank, or business you got it from and ask for a replacement.

Bring The Proper Information

All in all, banks will need a routing number, signature, bank name, etc. to accept the check. This is vital information and they can’t help you if these are missing.

Although, it’s always worth taking it in to see what they can do.

If you’re planning on taping the check be sure to use clear tape so they can still read it.

Make sure to always bring your I.D and explain exactly what may have happened and they’ll likely be happy to help you through the process.

Bank of America is probably one of the most lenient banks when it comes to accepting a ripped or torn check.

Final Thoughts: Can A Ripped Check Be Cashed?

All in all, if you happen to have a damaged, torn or ripped check there are many options to try.

The best odds of getting the check deposited is by going straight to the teller. They’ll likely help you and work with you in your favor.

But if you’re looking to avoid any scams in the future it could be best to go with a prepaid card or try direct deposit over a check.

We’ll leave that decision up to you. But for now, we hope you’ve been able to resolve your questions and put that cash into your account.

Ok, so we’ve answered the question of,” Can you cash a ripped check?”

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