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Banking 101: Best Places to Order Cheap Checks Online and Near You


Written by Chris O'Shea | Published on February 21, 2020

Note: This article is part of our Basic Banking series, designed to provide new savers with the key skills to save smarter.

You can get cheap checks from online retailers, big box stores and banks. Finding the best deal on checks will ultimately depend on what you’re looking for and which institutions or stores you’re already affiliated with.

In this article we will cover:

Where to buy cheap checks

Cheap checks: Online

There are plenty of options to order checks online. As an added perk, many sites offer free shipping, which can help you keep your costs low. 

Cost per box* Number of checks Cost per check
ASAP Checks $10 200 $0.05
Bradford Exchange $19.95 120 $0.17
CheckAdvantage $14.65 150 $0.10
Checks.com $4.95 100 $0.05
Checks In The Mail $21.25 100 $0.21
Checks Unlimited $18.99 100 $0.19
Checkworks $9.99 125 $0.08
Vistaprint $14.00 150 $0.09
Promise Checks $6.95 125 $0.06
TechChecks $12.95 150 $0.09
*Note: Pricing reflects the most basic checks available.
Pricing accurate as of Feb. 18, 2020.

When ordering checks online, first consider what you want in a check — maybe you want something personalized or perhaps you just want something simple. Every one of these sites offers an almost never-ending array of designs. 

Cheap checks: National chains

Costco, Sam’s Club and Walmart sell everything from crackers to tires. They also, unsurprisingly, offer inexpensive checks.

Cost per box* Number of checks Cost per check
Costco $16.66 for Gold Star members
$13.33 for Executive members
492 $0.0339 for Gold 
$0.0271 for Executive
Sam’s Club $13.20 480 $0.0275
Walmart $7.46 150 $0.0497
*Note: Pricing reflects the most basic checks available.
Pricing accurate as of Feb. 18, 2020. 

The key with Costco and Sam's Club is that you need to be a member to take advantage of the stores’ deals on cheap personal checks. Membership to Costco starts at $60 per year for a Gold Star membership or $120 for an Executive membership, while a membership to Sam's Club is $45 per year. 

If you don’t want to pay for a membership, Walmart offers cheap checks without the added cost of a membership. However, if you're already a member of Costco or Sam's Club, buying your checks there might be a good move as you can buy in bulk and pay mere pennies for each check. 

The checks offered by Costco, Sam’s Club and Walmart are all printed by Harland Clarke, which is backed by the Check Payment Systems Association (CPSA) — see more on the importance of this below. 

Cheap checks: Banks

If you use a lot of checks per month, it would behoove you to sign up for an account that offers free checks.

Cost per box* Number of checks Cost per check
Bank of America $22 120 $0.18
Truist Financial (formerly BB&T) $15 100 $0.15
Capital One $11 100 $0.11
Chase $18.95 100 $0.19
PNC Bank $22.99 80 $0.29
Wells Fargo $18.95 120 $0.16
*Note: Pricing reflects the most basic checks available. Shipping costs are not included.
Pricing accurate as of Feb. 18, 2020.

The allure of ordering checks from your bank is obvious: It's safe and it’s easy. You've already entrusted the bank with your money, so why not just order checks from it, too? Plus, your bank already has your account information, so the hassle of searching for it is eliminated. The downside is that if your bank doesn't offer checks for free in connection to an account, it could be more expensive than online check retailers. 

Look into the bank's criteria for earning free checks and make sure they align with your banking habits. For example, perhaps one account offers free checks as long as you have a direct deposit connected to the account. If you were planning on using direct deposit anyway, presto — you've found your account.

 

Personal checks and security: What you should know

Security is very important when it comes to personal checks. That's why it's vital that you make sure the checks you're buying are backed by the CPSA, an industry group for check printers that verifies that check printing companies meet certain security criteria when creating their checks. The CPSA will brand a seller's site and checks with a small lock icon if the seller's checks meet its security standards. 

Because checks contain vital information — your bank account number, routing number, address and signature — DepositAccounts founder Ken Tumin suggested only using checks with businesses or people you trust. If you have any doubts about a retailer, use a credit card for its added layer of security against fraud. Additionally, banks typically track checks, which can serve as extra protection against check fraud

It’s also important to make sure you review the information on your checks before sending them out. Peter Donisanu, president of financial advisor firm Franklin Madison Advisors, explained that the nature of checks creates opportunities for scammers. 

"For example, not properly filling out a check could lead a fraudster to add an extra zero to a check amount," said Donisanu, who also spent six years with Wells Fargo's banking operations. "Also, it can be easy for a fraudster to simply forge a signature if they have access to blank checks or account information needed to reprint checks and a sample of your signature from a legal document."

How to get cheap personal checks

  • Check with your bank. Many banks offer a certain amount of free checks, so contact your bank first to see what it offers. Even if your bank doesn't offer free checks, you're likely to get a good deal if your checking account has a long history and is in good standing.
  • Go basic. Generally speaking, the more basic the check design, the cheaper it is. If you're looking for cheap checks, go with the simplest look available.
  • Buy in bulk. As you can see from the pricing at Costco and Sam's Club, you can save a lot if you don't mind ordering a lot of checks at once. 
  • Avoid add-ons. If you order from an online retailer, it will likely ask if you want extra services added on to your checks, like faster shipping or increased fraud protection. If you’re focused on getting cheap checks online, stick with the basics and you'll pay less.
  • Look for coupons. It never hurts to do a quick search for coupons. Try coupon sites like Offers.com and RetailMeNot. You might be surprised at the discounts you can find.

What you need to know to order checks

Everything you need to order new checks can be found on your old checks. That includes your address, account number, routing number and last check number. If you don't have a check on hand, simply look for the necessary information on your bank or credit union's website. 

There are plenty of options for finding inexpensive checks. The best place to order checks is usually the place that offers you the best deal.

Comments
AnnO
  |     |   Comment #1
"Ask them if they shed their make-ready [check paper] to secure consumers account numbers."

I'm guessing you meant "shred".

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