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Banking 101: Where to Get Cheap Checks

Written by Sage Evans | Published on 3/28/2019

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

With mobile payment services, like Venmo and PayPal, rising in popularity, it may seem like checks are obsolete. However, checks are still a common form of payment in the United States. In fact, checks accounted for $17.3 billion of non-cash payments made in 2015, according to the Federal Reserve.

Whether you write a check to pay for your rent and utilities or to pay the babysitter who cares for your children, checks are a useful, common payment method in the U.S.

So what do you do when you run out of personal checks and need to order more? This article will walk you through all of your options when it comes to finding and ordering cheap checks.

In this article we will cover:

Where to get cheap personal checks

If you’re out of checks and looking to order additional checks cheaply, you have options other than just ordering them from your bank or credit union. While it’s common to reorder checks from your banking institution, there may be cheaper alternatives — especially when you consider the cost per check.

Consumers can order personal checks from online sources, national chains, banks and credit unions. The three charts below break down different options of where to get cheap checks. In each category, you’ll find the cost per box, number of checks, and cost per check. You may use this information to guide your purchasing decisions when it comes to ordering cheap checks.

Online* These prices reflect the cost of one box of classic, single checks.
Cost Per Box Number of Checks Cost Per Check
Carousel Checks $7.99 125 $0.06 $5.95 100 $0.06
Checkworks $9.99 125 $0.08
Vistaprint $14.00 150 $0.09
Checks Unlimited $18.99 100 $0.19
National chains* These prices reflect the cost of two boxes of classic, single checks.
Cost Per Box Number of Checks Cost Per Check
Costco $13.18 492 $0.03
Sam’s Club $13.96 360 $0.04
Walmart $14.92 300 $0.05
Cost Per Box Number of Checks Cost Per Check
Wells Fargo $20.00 120 $0.17
Chase $18.00 100 $0.18
US Bank $32.00 100 $0.32

The pricing in the charts above reflect the most basic checks available. Prices increase if you choose fun colors, patterns, logos and designs on your checks.
*Above costs as of March 28, 2019

Getting checks online

Ordering checks online is easy, convenient, and can save money.

“Banks often mark up [the price of] checks by at least 30%, so ordering checks online is a lot cheaper,” said Jane Barker, vice president of community outreach at the IC Group in Salt Lake City.

Online check companies offer security and fraud prevention features on their checks to ensure that you are getting a legitimate check and payment method. However, before you order checks online, it’s smart to do a little research about the check vendor to ensure that they offer security features on their checks and at their production facility.

“Before ordering checks online, I’d suggest calling the company and asking a few security questions,” Barker advises. “Ask them if they shed their make-ready [check paper] to secure consumers account numbers. Also, ask if their facility has an open or closed door policy.”

Closed door policies ensure that only people with the proper identification badges have access to the areas where checks are printed.

Online vendors also provide consumers with multiple options for the design and style of their checks. Instead of just the classic blue check, most banks and online vendors offer a variety of colors, patterns and logo options to choose from.

Getting checks from national chains

If you’re a member of a large national chain like Costco or Sam’s Club, it’s easy to find and order cheap checks. At Costco, though, you must be in the executive member category to order checks. Walmart is also an option for people who are not members of Costco or Sam’s Club. National chains work with a company called Harland Clarke Check Printing to print personal checks for consumers. The perk of ordering checks from big-box stores is that you can order them in bulk and save money.

“When buying checks, ensure you are purchasing them from reputable brands that you have heard of to ensure your security,” Barker said.

Getting checks from banks

Getting checks from your bank is easy because they already have your routing number and account number on file, so re-ordering is easy. Although many banks offer free checks for premium account holders, not all account members are eligible for free checks. Depending on your status, you may have to pay for additional checks. If that’s the case, ordering checks from national vendors or online may be a better option for getting cheap checks.

Check security

When it comes to your finances, security is crucial. Consumers want to know that their checks are valid and protected against fraud. In an effort to improve security and reduce fraud, the Check Payment Systems Association (CPSA) developed an icon known as the Enhanced Check Security Features Padlock icon, to help protect against check fraud.

This icon looks like a padlock and is placed on checks to indicate that essential security features have been included on the check. The icon verifies that the design, production process and materials are legitimate and secured. In order for check vendors to use this Padlock icon, they must create their checks to include physical features — like design, printing or paper features — that protect against counterfeit. The CPSA provides a list of the check vendors that are certified to use the Padlock icon.

Cheap checks are easy to find

Despite popular belief, checks still are a favorite form of payment. In 2015, U.S. households wrote an average of 7.1 checks per month, according to the Federal Reserve. So, when you need to re-order new checks, remember that there are plenty of options, whether you choose a bank, a national chain or an online vendor.

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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