What are Cancelled Checks?

Definition: A cancelled check is a check that has been paid by the bank. After the money is deducted from your checking account, the bank will “cancel” the check, so it can no longer be used.

What Does a Cancelled Check Mean?

Back in the old days before modern computer systems, bank actually mailed cancelled checks back to you every month with your bank statement. Now banks don’t do that because of the shipping and processing costs. Instead, banks usually print copies of the canceled checks on the back of each bank statement.


Everyone is familiar with checks. They are documents or contracts between the bank and a depositor that are signed by the depositor and instruct the bank to pay another third party the depositor’s money. It’s a mouthful, but it’s a pretty simple concept. When you deposit money in a checking account, the bank holds the money on account for you. Writing a check simply notifies the bank to take money out of your account and give it to the recipient on the check.

It is still possible to get physical copies of your cancelled checks by calling your bank and working it out with them. Most companies keep a copy of their cancelled checks on file if they aren’t printed on the companies’ bank statements. These physical cancelled checks provide proof of payment and evidence of expenses.