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The Best Place to Order Checks

Ethan Popowitz

Ethan Popowitz

You might not know that the best place to order checks from is not your bank. If you're in the market for extra checks but don't want to shell out the dough to buy them, then you might want to explore your options online.

In addition to saving money, you'll find a greater degree of customization and useful accessories to go with your checks. When doing my research, I made sure that security was at the top of my list. Because inputting your personal banking information can be stressful, I was only confident in the companies who could earn my trust.

I also looked at the cost, customization, and customer service of the companies I evaluated, as those are important factors as well.

If you want to save some cash when buying checks, I've reviewed the best places to order checks online.

The Best Place to Buy Checks: Our Top Picks

Check Advantage Review

  • Pros
  • Availability of original designs from licensed artists
  • Ability to customize or create designs
  • Excellent security levels
  • Compliance with CPSA requirements
  • Business and payroll checks compatible with a range of accounting software
  • Cons
  • Some designs, such as well known cartoon character ones, cannot be provided

Check Advantage has been in business since 2001 and offers customers unique, original designs created by top-notch photographers and graphics artists exclusively licensed by Check Advantage.

Although the company offers a choice of approximately 2500 designs, you won't find well-known cartoon characters among them.

In addition to checks, Check Advantage sells deposit slips and various supplies including 7-ring check binders, check envelopes and pre-inked stamps. It complies with CPSA security requirements and boasts an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Checks Unlimited Review

  • Pros
  • 110+ custom check designs
  • High security measures
  • CPSA certified provider
  • Cost effective option
  • Promotional deals for returning customers
  • Cons
  • Custom check selection is not as wide as some providers

Checks Unlimited has earned a reputation for superb fraud prevention security features. However, it doesn't offer a wealth of design options compared to other check printing companies.

Checks Unlimited meets all CPSA security requirements and provides an affordable option for businesses, particularly for returning customers and those who order in high volumes.

Checks Unlimited also offers a host of additional business supplies including sheeted address labels, covers, address stampers and RFID wallets which protect your checks against the electronic skimming that allows thieves to obtain your banking information.

4checks Review

  • Pros
  • Competitively priced
  • Special Promotions
  • High Security Features
  • CPSA Certified
  • 600+ custom designs
  • Cons
  • Redirects to parter site for business checks

4checks.com offers more than 600 unique designs, excellent security features, competitive pricing and free shipping. It also has a number of attractive promotional deals for those who purchase more than one box.

The company can also create checks from your personal photos. If you need business checks, you'll be directed to one of the company's affiliate sites.

All checks comply with CPSA security regulations. The company offers several check formats including duplicate, top-stub and side-tear checks.

Key Considerations When Ordering Checks Online

You have probably noticed that you're not running out of checks probably as often as you used to. In fact, you're not alone. For years, the usage of checks as a payment system (even payroll checks!) has plummeted.

According to a report by the United States Federal Reserve, checks were used in under 20 billion transactions in 2012. In 2000, checks were used in over 40 billion transactions. It's no surprise--checks are seen as the slow and inconvenient alternative to payment when you can easily transfer funds or purchase items with cash or credit.

Checks are still a viable and necessary part of our lives, however. Not every establishment accepts credit cards or electronic payments. For bills like the rent or utilities, a check might be most secure means of payment. And so when you eventually run out of checks, you might order a box from your bank only to shocked by the $35 price tag.

Fortunately, the best place to orders has you covered. Ordering checks online can be quick, painless, and even fun with all the options to personalize your checks. Be aware that you will be sharing your confidential banking information with these companies if you decide to do business with them. So before you take the plunge, here are a few things to reflect:

1. Security

Giving out your private banking information to an online check printing company is a serious decision to make. You should treat it with as much weight as you would when deciding to purchase something online. If you can't trust the website you're on--you should do business elsewhere.

Always search for FAQ sections and read what fellow customers are saying. Knowing what past customers have had to say about the companies that you are considering using can make all the difference in choosing a reliable printer.

As long as you order from a reputable company, even the best online check printing companies meet the security standards set by the CPSA (Check Payment Systems Association). These include features like special safety paper, a treatment that makes stains appear if someone attempts to chemically alter the check, and erasure protection.

One easy way to tell if you're ordering checks from a reputable company whose products meet basic security standards is to look for a little padlock icon on the right side of their checks under the "amount" box. If it's there, you know the check and the company itself have been vetted by the CPSA.

2. Cost

If going outside your bank to get checks makes you nervous, keep in mind that banks typically don't print checks themselves anyway. They might send them out to a third party instead. Skipping the middleman can help you save a few bucks.

Unless you're a premium member of your bank, you likely have to pay for more bank checks. Some banks charge $20 or even more per box of checks, and you can expect to pay extra if you wanted to customize them to your liking.

When you order checks online you can easily shave up to a third of the cost of checks than what you would spend at the bank. Big name retail stores like Walmart who do online check printing do it for cheap. Often stores like these have membership programs that offer special discounts where you can save an additional 10 or even 20% off your order.

3. Customer Support

Great prices are helpful, but you also want to be sure that if there's an issue or you have a question, that someone will address it promptly.

You may be worried about ordering a financial instrument over the Internet, and of course, you should take common sense measures to protect your banking information. The good news is that the CPSA security features and other advanced fraud prevention measures are working. According to the American Bankers Association (ABA), check security features helped stop 85% of fraud attempts in 2014.

By taking all of these things into consideration you will find the whole process far faster and easier, enabling you to start to order checks online with complete confidence.

The Benefits of Ordering Checks Online

There are numerous advantages of using an online check ordering company. Aside from the obvious, which is not ever having to leave home in order to replenish your supply, you'll also enjoy the following:

1. Cost Savings

You'll pay half or less of the typical price for bank checks. Plus, the more you buy at one time, the more you'll save in most cases.

2. Customization

When you order cheap checks online you can truly make them your own. There is a multitude of customization options available, from colors to graphics to fonts. Each is a means of making your checks look different from standard bank-issued checks, whether with your own photography or your initials printed on the front in a distinctive font.

3. Quantity

Check printing companies aren't all created equal when it comes to how many checks you receive per box. 250 is a fairly standard count but some companies do offer options for more or less per box. Verify that you know what you're getting for the price.

4. Accessories and Supplies

Why settle for the boring vanilla vinyl checkbook cover issued by your bank when you can have checkbook accessories that match your checks - and your personality? Online check ordering companies often sell a bevy of other products like stationery, address labels, and address stampers.

How to Order Checks

If you're down to your last check and have decided it is time to replenish your stash, everything you need to order a new box of checks can be found on one of your old ones.

  • Your checking account number. It's a long string of numbers that should be located in the middle of the bottom edge of the check.
  • Your bank's routing number, which can be found typically at the bottom left of the check, or nearby the checking account number.
  • The check number on your last check, so you know which number your new checks should start with. You can find that number usually at the top and bottom right corner of the check.
  • Some states or online check printing companies may require the date you started the account. If you don't remember, or are unsure, you can find that information at your bank's website.

It's also a smart idea to double check the information of your order before hitting that purchase button. While printers typically verify your account details with the bank before printing, checks with the wrong account information on them aren't very useful.

Personal Checks

Have you seen other people using fun, vibrant personal checks at the grocery store and wondered where they got them? If you're still buying personal checks from the bank, you're missing out on both wonderful design options and significant savings.

A personal check is a slip of paper issued by a bank that allows you to make payments from your bank account to that of individuals or companies.

Designer Checks

When you order cheap checks online you can truly make them your own. When shopping around for more checks, make sure the company offers these design options:

  • Custom Checks: Retail check printers like Walmart offer special customization features where you can choose between popular brands like Disney or insert your own art.
  • Designer Checks: You'll pay a little extra, but the best check printing companies offer a wide array of stylish and unique designs so you can really personalize your checks.
  • Photo Checks: For the ultimate in personalization options, you can choose a specific photo to appear on the face of your checks.

Cheap Checks Online

If you want to save even more money and get cheap personal checks, then follow these tips:

  • Ask your bank for free checks: Can't hurt just to ask, right? If you're in a hurry and just need a handful of checks to get by ask the teller for a few counter checks. Banks may supply a few of these emergency checks at no charge.
  • Choose Plain Designs: You might miss out on the cute photos and colors, but personalizing checks undoubtedly adds to the cost.
  • Hold the Add-Ons: At checkout, you may be asked if you'd like to add fraud protection or expedited printing. Skip these options if you're in no rush to get your checks.
  • Buy in Bulk: If you operate a business--or you just need a lot of checks--you could get a volume discount.
  • Search for Discounts: Speaking of discounts, online check printing sites usually offer discounts or promotions for first-time users. This is often a feature online sites have that retail stores lack.

Ordering Business Checks

Business checks are bank drafts written against a business checking account. The draft is negotiated on the organization's deposits, not the owners, making a clear delineation of personal and professional assets. Like personal checks, you may find that ordering business checks online may come in a few different forms:

  • Manual Checks: Keep track of your business finances with manual checks. A manual check can be handwritten and may not come out of the accounts payable system.
  • Payroll Checks: These are available in both hourly and salary versions and manual or laser formats. They come with payroll check stubs in order to make bookkeeping easier.
  • Quickbooks Checks: Some manufacturers will provide checks that are compatible with the leading accounting programs such as Peachtree or QuickBooks. If your business uses these accounting programs, this feature will be important to you.
  • Voucher Checks: Also known as a remittance advice, the voucher check details the reason for the payment by the issuer of the check. The recipient detaches the voucher for his or her records before cashing the check.
  • High-Security Checks: For higher risk transactions, such as payees with whom you're not familiar, it's a good idea to use high-security business checks. Whereas normal business checks may have three to six security features, high-security business checks have 10 or more, sometimes up to 25.
  • Laser Checks: Otherwise known as computer checks, this type is designed for users to run through a printer to fill them out rather than handwriting them with a pen.

Recap

Online check ordering services allow you to have themes for your business and personal checks, sheets or books to store them, and security measures to prevent them from putting your account at risk. But running out on those little slips of paper can result in you making some unnecessary payments.

Although it may be more convenient to simply purchase some more checks online through your bank, check printing companies can save you money while giving you more checks for your dollar. You can even show off some personality and customize them to make them your own.

If you're buried underneath a mountain of receipts or need help budgeting, the best personal finance software can help you get your life back on track.