Ordering Checks Online

It’s that time again… Time to order more checks. I’ve mentioned this in the past, but despite doing most of our banking online, we still need to write a decent number of checks, mostly for things related to our school-age kids.

The last time we had to order checks was back in October 2006. At that time, we bought 700 checks. That means we’re writing somewhere around 140 checks per year – not including checks sent through online billpay.

For the sake of comparison, I ran a poll on poll on check writing frequency about a year ago. Of the 360+ respondents, 24% reported writing no checks in a typical month, and 47% reported writing 1-3 checks/month, and 19% reported writing 4-6 checks/month. Obviously, we’re on the high side.

Okay, with that as a backdrop, let’s get back to the issue of ordering checks…

When I last wrote about this, Rule #1 was to avoid ordering them from your bank since most banks charge a premium. Rule #2 was to avoid the no-name check printers. Sure, they might be fine, but you probably shouldn’t entrust your banking info to a fly-by-night operation.

At the time, our bank (Bank of America) was charging $63.00 (!) for two boxes of checks with free shipping. At the other end of the spectrum, Sam’s Club was charging $23.26 with free shipping for four four boxes of duplicate checks. Wal-Mart and Current were in the middle, coming in around $35 for four boxes.

Well, guess what? After pricing the competition, I decided to check with Bank of America and was pleased to learn that we’re now eligible for free checks – up to 300 per order, with free shipping*. The other options were priced similarly to what they were 4-5 years ago, though Sam’s Club has added a handling fee that brings their price up to a little under $30.

Needless to say, I ordered from the bank, and will likely place a second order when these arrive – no sense in waiting until we truly need them, only to find out that the bank is charging again.

*Note: Only the plain blue “security” checks were free – if we wanted a fancier design, we would’ve had to pay. Also, I’m pretty sure that this free check offer is tied to our specific account type, so your mileage may vary. Oh, and while I opted for free shipping, they had a number of shipping options that ranged as high as $25.

9 Responses to “Ordering Checks Online”

  1. Anonymous

    We were banking with Wells Fargo and received duplicate WF checks for free with whatever personalization we wanted on the name/address lines (we don’t put our full info on these for security reasons). We are in the process of switching to Ally only to find out that we can only get single security checks for free and would have to pay for duplicates. We really use the duplicates in a variety of ways, so we went ahead and ordered from Current, but it’s a bummer to have to pay for checks again. On the bright side, we now have a more interesting, yet classic design. Oh, and we aren’t dealing with all of WF’s new fees that they have decided to tack onto our account in the past few months.

  2. Anonymous

    I’m one of those that averages fewer than 5 checks in the average month. (No kids yet, but one due in January, so I’m sure the average will increase once he/she reaches grade-school age.)

    I have a pretty basic checking account with Wells Fargo (Wachovia before that) and I get basic/plain checks for free. We have an unused home equity line, so that might play a part.

  3. Anonymous

    You can also print your own checks from your PC for free with something like versa check. You don’t even need special paper. Any document with a date, “pay to the order of”, an amount, account/routing numbers and your signature is legally a check

  4. Anonymous

    Interesting, Nickel. Thanks as always.

    It has been a few years but I always received checks for free from Chase. I think it is free if you qualify for premier checking (which is not that hard if you have a few products with them).

  5. Anonymous

    We just ordered a box of checks from BofA: It was $33 (total) for a box of carbon copy checks.

    Compare that to Chase, where I have an HSA account: around $15 for a single _book_ of checks (not even carbon copy)…argh.

  6. Yes, they’ve re-structured things recently. In general, it seems that they have decided to add fees to smaller customers and remove fees/add perks for larger customers. We’re not paying a fee (never have) so I’m more than happy to take advantage of stuff like free checks. I believe that they are now summing across account types for calculating these thresholds, and we have a personal checking, personal savings, and business checking account with them.

  7. Anonymous

    I did order checks recently from BofA for free, actually this account type, is nothing but your account value with them. I don’t know the threshold but if you have a decent amount in their checking, they will waive fee, most likely.

  8. Anonymous

    Sure, your checks might be free now, but I’m sure they’ve increased some fee elsewhere to more than pay for the free checks. I wish banks were a lot more transparent with this stuff!

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