Don’t Buy Checks From Your Bank

Bummer, I’m finally out of checks. I try to write as little checks as humanly possible and pay for everything with credit cards to get cash back, but still, things like rent, graduation gifts, giving to charity, gradually deplete my checkbook. Last time I was stupid and requested new checks directly from Bank of America. They cost me $35! What a rip off. I didn’t know you could get checks printed from anywhere.

This time, I’m ordering from Costco Check Printing. You get 400 single plain checks for $9, or 300 duplicate checks for $10 with free shipping. Executive members get another 20% off. If you’re not a member of Costco or need less checks, try these places:

Walmart Checks – 240 single plain checks or 175 duplicate checks for $5.96 + $1.70 standard shipping = $7.66.

Promise Checks – Lots of the checks have religious messages, but they also offer 200 plain single checks for $4.95, and 150 duplicate checks at $7.95. Cheapest shipping is $2.35. ($7.30 total for plain)

Or you could just open up another free checking account, but 9 bucks isn’t so bad. Per single check, Costco is the cheapest at 2.25 cents/check. Walmart is 3.19 cents/check, and Promise is 3.65 cents/check. But you have to buy more checks get the cheaper prices, so take your pick.

If you want be cool and have Shrek or the Sistine Chapel on your checks, you’re on your own ;). More information on bypassing your banks for checks in this Bankrate article.

Comments

  1. Why not do things like Rent through your bill pay? Have the bank write checks for you.

  2. That’s a good idea, I forgot about that! I always just pass by my landlord’s house when I walk the dog and drop off my rent check, so I never associate mailing checks with paying rent. I’m also wary of how long it will take for them to write and mail out a physical check. I should test it out next time. But this way I could make it automatic, and it would save other people 37 cents a month. Thanks!

  3. You can write a “negotiable instrument,” bank talk for a valid check, on just about anything. According to the Uniform Commercial Code, the body of law that governs these things, all you have to include are the name of the payee, the dollar amount, the name of your bank, your signature, the date, and some suitable words of conveyance, such as “pay to the order of.” You don’t need the account number or the bank ID number you find on preprinted checks.

    The trick is that you have to find somebody willing to accept such a check. Merchants and the like are free to reject any sort of payment they don’t cotton to, checks included. Needless to say, if you try to write a check on the back of an old grocery list, the average checkout clerk is going to tell you to take a hike. However, if the clerk does accept it, the bank will honor it.

    One common stunt is to write your annual tax check to the IRS on a shirt (the shirt off your back, get it?). Swiftian satire it ain’t, but some find it amusing.

    {credit goes to http://www.straightdope.com}

  4. Our bank (Wells Fargo) has several checking account levels. We typically use the no fee / no minimum balance option, but upgrade it when we need checks. The only requirement of the upgrade is a minimum balance of $5,000 and the upgraded level includes free checks. We simply transfer funds from ING for the week or two it takes to process the order and then we switch the account back to basic and return the excess funds to ING.

  5. http://www.checksunlimited.com is not as cheap, but I like the designs. Occasionally googing will provide a good coupon code.

  6. J~, 5000 at 4% = $200 a year, $.548 a day. Assuming it takes 10 days you lose about $5.48 taxable money in interest. It might not be worth the trouble.

    Using Online bill pay is a good idea. Chevy chase bank requires four business days before the deadline to process your request. They will reimburst you upto $50 in late fees if there is a delay in processing.

  7. The only good reason to order from your bank is that some banks will let you pick up your checks from the bank like my wife does with PFF. Do this if you are paranoid about someone stealing your checks out of your mailbox or in route. Don’t know if you can do this with BoA.

  8. I use to get them for free because I worked at Bank of America. right before the job was over, I ordered like packs after packs of checks. lol.

    still have them. when they’re gone, I plan to transfer money over to my credit union checking account and use the packs of checks I have there till they’re dry too.

  9. Bank of Internet gives you free checks. Unlimited, I believe. They have other great benefits as well.

  10. What checks? I have been doing online banking since 2001! Aside from the occasional big checks e.g. down payments, i almost never write checks. I’m check-free!

  11. Just look in the sunday paper inserts for the best check deals. I’ve used Checks in the Mail, Checks Unlimited, and Designer Checks with good experiences. I think the cheapest deal I’ve ever gotten was around $6 for 250 checks including shipping. And the promotions have very beautiful 4-design checks, and sometimes even free italic script!

    Tips:
    1. These promotions are usually for 1st time customers, but between rotating between those 3 companies, and the fact that I switch bank accounts every few years, I’ve always qualified as a 1st time customer.
    2. If you rarely write checks, don’t try to maximize the “per check” cost. Just get the cheapest deal regardless of # of checks. Otherwise, whenever you switch bank accounts or address, you’ll have a lot of wasted checks.
    3. You have to do mail order to get the promotions.

    Another thing that I heard but have not personally tried was that Fidelity checkwriting will actually send you free checks!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Doesn’t WaMu offer free checks?

  13. Cant you print checks from your printer? I dont know the costs, but im sure they would be very cheap.

  14. If you don’t sign as many as checks as you used to (due to online payments), say about 5 checks per month, then just go to your local bank, or branch that located near you, request for “temporary checks” which printed out from the bank computer system (wait for about 2 min.).

    Of course, you must be the bank customer, and has checking acct there. Some bank would love to waive you the fee for this type of check.

  15. interesting.

    Im 53, and Ive been getting free checks & free deposit slips from any bank I was with…since I was 16.

    Ive been with BankofAmerica since the early 90′s and as of 2000 stopped writing checks, or rather rarely written.

    Yet Ive been reording deposit slips regularly.
    And only per my checks being for wife/mom/me are any ever ordered.
    If it was just me alone, I would have not needed to reorder since 2000.

    Check with a person at the bank.

  16. ING direct orange checking will give you 50 checks for $5, free shipping.
    You need to activate the checkbook after you receive it. You can also track the check you just wrote in you account.

  17. can u print this checks

  18. One of the motivating factors to order bank checks online is that many online check printing services maintain a wide, almost endless selection of designs. This is huge compared to what conventional financial institutions offer, which is normally the plain, ordinary, and common bank checks with very little design
    options.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] In addition, thanks to the commenters below, I am reminded that there are tons of other discounts offered to Executive members on things like insurance, small business services, cheaper check printing, real estate services, and more, that don’t end up on your rewards rebates but still save you money. So not only is there no risk, there is much potential upside. [...]

  2. A couple more ways to save money… « Two Twins in a Condo-21 Year Old Twins, Learning to Live Inexpensively says:

    [...] If you use checks, don’t buy them from the bank. You can get a better deal with other printing [...]

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