Sunday, November 19, 2006

Ordering Checks on the Internet



I'll be honest: I can't remember the last time I wrote more than five checks in any given month.

I handle probably 95% of my monthly purchases and transactions with a cash-back credit card, paying the balance in full every month. Everything else is handled either with online- or automatically-scheduled debits.

I can't drop checks from my financial arsenal entirely, though, because I use checks at Sam's Club, and because two of my monthly utility bills are payable only by cash or check. (Well, one of them actually is payable via online bank-account debit, but I'd have to pay a $2 "Convenience Fee" per transaction in order to do this. And I'm not about to pay two bucks for that. Talk about a huge rip-off.)

So while I don't have to order checks very often, I do have to order them on occasion. And, unlike pretty much everyone I know, I order my checks online — not through my credit union or bank.

Why Order Checks Online?

Because it's easy. And because it's probably cheaper than what I'd pay to order thru my bank. And because I can get those kick-butt, side-tear checks:



I will state here unequivocally that side-tear checks Freaking Rule. They are unbelievably superior to the traditional style of checks — those that are perforated along the top, and Specially Handcrafted to Frustrate the Living Crap Out of You when you try to dislodge them from their backing.

And yes, I am one of the 12 remaining humans who are so completely boring that they still use Safety Blue checks. With no special monogram. Or typestyle. Or Personalized Quote above the signature.



Until yesterday, the only check-printer I've ever used has been Designer Checks. Along with the side-tear feature, I like my checks to have carbon duplicates. Through Designer Checks, two boxes of such checks seems to run me about $30 plus shipping.

I've now also stumbled upon Checks In The Mail. I'll give them a shot this time, not because Designer Checks has ever given me a good reason to do so, but just to see how they do. Go ahead: Call me a risk-taker.

If any of you readers have other sources for your checks, or comments regarding check-ordering in general, I'd like to hear them!

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— Posted by Michael @ 7:41 PM








11 Comments:
 

I print my own checks at home, since I use them so seldom. A box of 900 blanks + the software cost about $30.00. If your address or banking information changes, you don't have a bunch of unused checks to shred, and if you have multiple checking accounts, you can use the same blanks.

 

ebbie,
I like the idea of printing checks at home. What software do you use? Will it work with InkJet printers or does it have to be a laser printer?

 

I order my plain-vanilla checks through my credit union (Penfed) because they are free with the checking account I have. I'm like you - I don't go through many checks anymore - and usually I run out before I remember to reorder! I have used Current and Checks in the Mail in the past.

 

The only checks I use are for rent. So thats like just 12 checks a year !..don't think I will require to order a check book for another 10~12 years :)

 

I just ordered blue safety checks from Sam's Club:

http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2006/10/23/how-to-order-checks-without-getting-ripped-off/

Also, you don't really need checks for buying stuff at Sam's anymore because they just started accepting MasterCard:

http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2006/11/14/sams-club-now-accepting-mastercard/

 

Belated holiday greetings, Michael! How's the family and the beloved Honda?

http://www.cpsa-checks.org/memlisting.htm

Above is the link for the addresses of check printers who belong to the Check Payment Systems Association (like the Good Housekeeping Seal of approval...)

During the fall I read an article about some banks charging fees for checks that didn't clear the banking system b/c of tears, rips, whatever(supposedly, their quality was questionable, so the bank is passing along their increased costs, yada...yada..yada.) However, no fee was charged if it was one of the checks ordered thru the bank. If I can remember where I saw the article...I'll send you the link. FYI, the link at the top was from that article.

 

Hi, I ordered two boxes of checks from Walmart online for $16. Blue safety checks! They didn't come with the check register though so I asked my local bank for one which they happily provided. I hope this information is useful to you because you helped me so much with your terrific collection of information on building a contingency fund. I especially appreciated your link to the essay by a guy who wrote about being "too" grateful and that it's no way to live. You'd be surprised how hard it is to find useful and inspiring words on staying commited to building a contingency fund (probably because it seems to take forever and is boring compared to investing). You helped me. Thank you.

 

Thanks to everyone for the resources.

I'd use the Wal-Mart check printing service, but they don't appear to offer my beloved side-tear checks. Dangit.

And thanks very much, Anon, for the kind words. It means a great deal to me.

 

i like boring blue too :)

I've never tried the "print at home" thing before but that actually sounds like a good idea, i swear everytime i've closed an account i've had about a million checks left over.

 

I use Versa Check software. It's compatible with Microsoft Money & I think Quicken as well. You can use them with inkjet or with laser. I use mine with an inkjet printer and I have not had any problems with any business or bank honoring them.

The check blanks have all the security features of regular checks, and they come in a variety of colors. If you want special graphics on them - you can print them yourself!

 

Yes, side tear checks are classy as all get-out. I feel like I'm in a movie set in the 1940's, back when checks were kept in a nice book in the drawer of a desk used for serious financial business. Safety blue says "Yes, I have money" in such an understated way.

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