1. Home
  2. /
  3. education
  4. /
  5. Can You Use White-Out...

Can You Use White-Out on a Check? An Authentic Guide

Use White-Out on a Check

Writing checks is a common financial activity for many individuals. Whether it’s paying bills, making a donation, or simply transferring money, the accuracy of the information on a check is crucial. 

However, mistakes happen, and at times, we find ourselves in a position where we’ve made an error on a check.

This leads us to the question: can you use white-out on a check to correct such mistakes? 

In this article, we will explore the guidelines set by financial institutions regarding check alterations, the reasons why using white-out is not recommended, alternative options for correcting mistakes on a check, and answers to commonly asked questions related to check alterations.

Why Not to Use White-Out on a Check?

The Legal Aspect

Using white-out on a check raises legal concerns. Checks are considered legally binding documents, and any alterations made to them can potentially invalidate the check. 

Financial institutions have strict guidelines to ensure the authenticity and integrity of checks. 

Alterations, particularly those made with correction fluid like white-out, are seen as potential indicators of fraud or tampering. Therefore, it is important to follow proper protocols when correcting mistakes on a check.

white out check

Potential for Fraud

One of the main reasons why financial institutions discourage the use of white-out on a check is the potential for fraud

White-out can be easily altered or removed, making it difficult for a recipient or the bank to verify the original intention of the check. This creates a significant risk of misuse, as someone could potentially modify the check after it has been issued, changing crucial details such as the recipient’s name or the amount to be paid. 

By not allowing the use of white-out, financial institutions aim to protect their customers from falling victim to fraudulent activities.

Scrutiny from Banks

Banks are responsible for processing checks efficiently and securely. However, when a check with white-out or correction fluid on it is presented for deposit or cashing, it raises red flags and may result in the check being denied or delayed. 

Banks have sophisticated systems in place to detect alterations and verify the authenticity of checks. Any sign of white-out or correction fluid can prompt further investigation, leading to potential inconvenience for both the check issuer and the recipient.

Alternative Methods of Correction

To ensure the accuracy and legitimacy of a check, there are alternative methods that can be used to correct mistakes without resorting to white-out. The most common approach is to neatly cross out the error with a blue or black pen, drawing a single line through the mistake. 

Above or beside the crossed-out mistake, the correct information can then be written. This method clearly shows the intended correction and ensures that the recipient can easily identify and verify the correct details.

In summary, using white-out on a check to correct mistakes is not recommended due to legal concerns, potential for fraud, scrutiny from banks, and the availability of alternative methods

Financial institutions have established guidelines to protect their customers and ensure the accuracy and integrity of checks. By following these guidelines, individuals can avoid complications, delays, or potential disputes related to their checks.

Rules and Regulations of Financial Institutions

To maintain the integrity of the check system, financial institutions have established specific rules and regulations regarding check alterations. These rules are in place to protect both the check issuer and the recipient. 

Most banks and credit unions have policies that specifically state that alterations to checks should not be made using any correction fluid or white-out. Deviating from these guidelines can result in the check being rejected or delayed in processing.

Best Practices for Correcting Mistakes on a Check

While using white-out is not recommended, there are alternative options available to correct mistakes on a check. Here are some best practices to consider:

Neatly crossing out the mistake with a blue or black pen: If you make a mistake on a check, simply crossing it out with a blue or black pen is often an acceptable method of correction. 

Be sure to draw a single line through the mistake and write the correction above or beside it. This allows the recipient to easily identify the correct information.

Writing the correction above the mistake: Instead of crossing out the mistake, another option is to write the correction directly above it. This method ensures that the correct information is clearly visible and eliminates any confusion for the recipient.

Following specific guidelines for correction: Some financial institutions may have specific guidelines for correcting mistakes on a check. For instance, they may require the correction to be initiated by the check issuer or may have specific instructions on how to correct mistakes made in certain fields, such as the amount or the payee’s name. 

It is important to familiarize yourself with the guidelines of your specific financial institution to ensure compliance.

Tips to avoid potential issues with the corrected check: To minimize the chances of your corrected check being mistaken for an altered or fraudulent one, consider the following tips:

Use a reliable pen with blue or black ink to make the correction.

Write the correction clearly and legibly to avoid any misinterpretation.

Be consistent with your correction method. If you prefer crossing out mistakes, stick to that method throughout the check.

Avoid making multiple corrections on a single check. Excessive alterations may raise red flags at the bank.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can you white-out a signature on the back of a check?

No, it is not advisable to white-out a signature on the back of a check. Signatures are essential for validating the check and confirming that it has been properly endorsed. Any alterations to the signature could render the check invalid.

Can you use white-out on a deposit slip?

Similar to checks, the use of white-out on a deposit slip is generally discouraged. It is recommended to use proper correction methods, such as drawing a line through the mistake and writing the correction beside it.

How to write a check with cents?

When writing a check with cents, start by writing the whole dollar amount in words followed by the word “and” and then the cents portion as a fraction over 100. For example, if the amount is $50.75, write “Fifty and 75/100.”

How to correct a mistake on the back of a check?

Corrections on the back of a check should be made following the same principles as the front of the check. Neatly cross out the mistake with a pen and write the correction above it. Be sure to make the correction in a way that is easily identifiable by the recipient.

Can you white-out a money order?

It is generally not advisable to use white-out on a money order. Money orders are similar to checks and should be treated as legal documents. Alterations can raise suspicions and potentially cause the money order to be rejected.


While it may be tempting to use white-out to correct a mistake on a check, it is important to adhere to the rules set by financial institutions. 

Using white-out is discouraged or even prohibited due to potential issues with alteration or fraud. It is best to follow alternative methods of correction, such as crossing out mistakes with a pen or writing the correction above the error. 

By understanding and adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure that your checks are processed smoothly and securely, minimizing the chances of any complications or delays.