Thursday, June 2, 2011

Stopping Payment on Cheques is not Guaranteed

Despite the fact that we are in a world of electronic payments, I find I still write some paper cheques. Occasionally I've had to stop payment on a cheque or someone sending me a cheque has stopped payment. However, these stops don’t always work.

My wife did a little research and found that stopping a cheque isn’t cheap: $25 at TD, $10 online at RBC, $15 in a branch at RBC, and $10 at ING (with one free stop per year). These costs won’t break the bank, but for this money you’d think that the service would work.

Over the years my wife and I have been involved in several cases where either we tried to stop payment on a cheque or someone else stopped payment on a cheque sent to us. In 3 of these cases an attempt was made to cash the cheque and the stop worked for only one of the 3 cheques.

This is a very small sample, but 1 out of 3 isn’t a good success rate. I’d be interested to know whether readers have had experience with stopping cheques and whether the stops actually worked.


  1. @Thicken: I limited my sample to 3 cases where I knew that the stop was in place well before an attempt was made to cash the cheque. Even in these cases the success rate was 1 in 3.

    1. The comment above is a reply to Thicken My Wallet's comment:

      I have stopped cheques in the past. You have to do it very quickly (within 24 hours or you know it is still in the mail) to do it properly. The problem, as you know, is that it takes a few days for a cheque to be processed and post in your bank account which is when it is a coin toss whether the cheque has been stopped or not.