Can You Cash A Ripped Check?

So long as the details on the ripped check are still readable, there is a high likelihood that you can still cash it into your bank account.

However, it will be at the discretion of the depositing bank or financial institution’s policies to determine whether the rip(s) on the check has rendered it invalid.

The effect of any rips or tears on the quality of the check and the level of any form of damage is entirely dependent on the person handling it.

If you fold your check and then unfold repeatedly, the associated crease can result in a tear.

Minimize folding on the check and avoid smudging the magnetic MICR line
Minimize folding on the check and avoid smudging the magnetic MICR line

More of than not, one tear down the middle or a corner of the check generally does not cause any loss of quality, particularly if the information surrounding the tear is still legible.

However, it is also quite possible for these areas to crease so much that it causes the information to partially fade beyond recognition.

In addition to this, a rip can also cause parts of the check to tear off along with vital information, thereby effectively turning the check non-negotiable.

Depending on the financial institution into which the check will be cashed, it may be possible to deposit the funds directly through the bank’s mobile app.

Consult your bank if you have doubts over the validity of the check and therefore the readability of the required information, as listed below, to enable you to cash it in:

  • Drawer’s name (the person who created the check and from whom the funds will be drawn)
  • Drawer’s address
  • Drawer’s signature
  • Issue date
  • Issuing bank’s details
  • The amount written in words
  • The amount written in dollar numbers
  • MICR line
  • Routing number
  • Account number
  • Check number
Parts of a check
Parts of a check which should be clearly readable

Can you deposit a ripped check in an ATM?

If the check is only slightly ripped on the edges and does not compromise the details written on the check, it’s quite possible that you can deposit in at an ATM, where it will be scanned electronically.

Scanners use optical character recognition (OCR) to digitize all the necessary details to facilitate a successful deposit.

Each number and letter should be clear to provide an accurate scan, considering OCR can still make mistakes, the likes of which can also be dependent on neatness, in cases where it has been handwritten.

If you have ripped the magnetic ink used to print the MICR line (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition – which details the check drawer’s routing number, account number and check number), there’s a good chance that that it may become unreadable.

If the magnetic ink is dirty or has been written over with pen marks, it may prove difficult to scan since the ink helps in digitizing the routing and account numbers.

Do not attempt to mend your check using any sort of adhesive as this could interfere with the scanner’s ability to read it.

Do banks accept ripped checks?

Yes, banks will typically accept ripped checks, as long as either an ATM or a bank teller is not hindered from reading all the necessary details.

If you’ve ripped your check but have all the pieces from which to retrieve all the vital details as well as endorse it, it’s very likely that you will still be able to deposit it.

Before depositing the check via an ATM, perhaps consider taking it directly to a bank teller first, who can assess any risk involved in accepting the check.

They may advise that depositing the check manually with them will be easier rather than through the ATM, which may find it difficult to scan considering the level of damage as a result of the tear(s).

In addition, folding and unfolding regularly may cause damage to security features (listed on the rear of the check) or trigger, which may result in the bank being unable to verify its authenticity.

If the writing and information is legible, the teller should be able to verify that the check is legitimate. It will then be accepted and deposited into your account, so long as there is sufficient funds from the sender.

However, it is at the bank’s discretion to reject any check they deem invalid and non-negotiable.

Can I mobile deposit a ripped check?

Yes, if your bank provides a facility for you to deposit your check through their mobile or tablet app, you may do so as long as the details are still legible despite any rips.

It is important to note that depositing through the bank’s mobile app often involves taking a picture of both the front and back sides of the check.

Ensure none of the rips has rendered any of the details unreadable.

When taking pictures of the check, use a clear project sheet or clear plastic folder sleeves to hold it down flat with paper weights, keeping any torn pieces together.

Once you have begun the deposit process, your bank will confirm through email or SMS that they have received it.

Then, it will typically take about a day to receive a response to confirm whether it was a successful or a rejected deposit.

An unsuccessful deposit may mean that perhaps certain information on the check may either be not visible or unreadable.

It may be worth paying a visit to a local branch and resolving it with a real person, who should be able to tell you whether or not your check needs to be reissued.

Can you send a ripped check?

Yes, you can send a check that’s has been inadvertently ripped through the mail, if and only if the details on the check can still be easily read.

To avoid being mishandled during transit through the postal service, consider adding a thin cardboard piece alongside the check in order to prevent it from any further damage.

Since envelopes can be quite thin and transparent against a light source, use a security envelope to properly conceal the check from would-be thieves willing to commit fraud.

If you are not comfortable parting with your check through traditional snail mail, perhaps consider sending it through email, a method which has proven to be safe and fast.

How to fix a ripped check

Do not attempt to use tape, glue or any other adhesive to put the check back together, under any circumstances, as banks will typically reject it as a result.

If the information on the check can still be clearly read, it would not be necessary to use adhesive anyway, since the bank would generally accept it in this condition.

If you are unsure, talk to the bank teller and ask if they are willing to accept the ripped check in the condition that it’s in.

They may advise you to contact the maker of the check, ask them to void the current check and issue you with a new one.

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