When you give your bank reasonable notice not to honor a check you wrote, you have requested a stop payment.

How Do I Request a Stop Payment?

Most states allow bank customers to make oral stop payment requests. However, your state may have a statute that requires a stop payment request be made in writing. If there is a writing requirement, and you made the request orally, then the law typically requires that a written request be made within 14 days of the oral request to prevent the stop payment request from expiring. Written requests are generally valid for six months.

May I Stop Payment on a Teller Check?

Generally, a check drafted by a teller is drawn from an account held by the bank. Since the check is drawn from an account belonging to the bank, as opposed to your personal account, banks are not required to place a stop payment.

What If My Bank Did Not Honor My Stop Payment?

If you give your bank reasonable notice to stop payment of a check you wrote, your bank must honor your instructions. If, despite giving reasonable notice, your bank pays a check, the bank is responsible for any damages you may have suffered.

Can I Sue a Person Who Placed a Stop Payment on a Check I Tried to Cash?

Usually, if a check you cashed was returned because a stop payment was placed on it, you may take legal action. For your lawsuit to be successful, you must show that the person who issued the stop payment acted in bad faith. Usually you can sue for the amount of the check plus damages up to three times the amount of the check.

I Am Being Sued for Placing a Stop Payment

If you are being sued for having ordered a stop payment, you will need to show that when you stopped payment, you did so in good faith. An example of a good faith stop payment would be that you were not satisfied with a service you received.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Stop payment regulations vary between states. Some banks have relaxed policies while other banks have rules that closely follow the law. Whether you wrote a check and requested a stop payment, or you cashed a check that was returned, a financial attorney specializing in banking laws and regulations can advise you of the applicable laws where you live and advise you of your rights and remedies.