It happens to the best of us—you accidentally ripped a check that came in the mail when you opened the envelope. Or maybe your child or dog got ahold of that check you were on your way to the bank to cash. No matter how it happened, now you have a damaged check on your hands and are wondering, can you still deposit a ripped check?
The short answer is, it depends on your bank’s policies and how damaged the check is. If critical information like the account or routing number is missing, you may not be able to cash or deposit it.
Read on to learn more so you can get your money as soon as possible.
How Do You Deposit a Ripped Check?
When you tear a check, your first instinct may be to tape it back together. But banks are actually less likely to deposit a ripped check if you try to fix it yourself, so just gather up the pieces if you have them and put them in an envelope for safekeeping.
The bank where the check was drawn may be more willing to accept it, so take it there first. The issuing bank will usually appear on the check.
When you get there, don’t try to use the ATM—give the check to a teller and politely explain what happened. They may be able to cash it for you, but keep in mind that you could be charged an extra handling fee because the check is damaged.
If the issuing bank won’t cash it for you, take it to your personal bank and try to deposit it instead. Your bank’s mobile deposit feature is unlikely to accept it, so visit your local branch in person if possible.
Every bank has different policies, so they may not be willing to deposit a ripped check for you, especially if it’s missing crucial information like the account number, amount, date, signature, or routing number.
Your bank needs all of those details to verify that the check is valid. So if they’re missing or damaged to the point that they can’t be read, you won’t be able to cash or deposit your check.
If you’ve been turned away from a few banks, here’s what to do next.
Request a New Check
Sometimes a check is too mangled for the bank to verify that it’s valid. In that case, you’ll have to go back to the person or company that gave it to you and ask for a new check.
Although it can be embarrassing to admit you mishandled your check, there’s no other way to get a new one, so you’ll have to be honest in order to get your money.
Remember that accidents happen and companies have to reissue lost or damaged checks all the time. They’ll easily be able to void the old check and write you a new one, and you’ll have the money you’re owed in no time.