The digital age is in full swing, but someone forgot to tell the financial industry. Paper checks are still a real need even in our digital world — and they can be expensive. Fortunately, there are several companies that make it easy and affordable to order checks online.
Quick Look: Best Place to Order Checks Right Now
- The Bradford Exchange
- Checks In The Mail
How Ordering Checks Online Works
Before you order, it’s helpful to understand the process, including how long it will take for your checks to arrive.
If you’re already down to your last check, contact your bank or credit union to see if it offers counter checks. These are like the starter checks you get when you open a new bank account and may even be free — but you’ll usually only be able to get a few to hold you over.
The checks you have now have all the information you’ll need to order new checks. You’ll need to provide your personal or business information, but you’ll also need some numbers at the bottom. One is a routing number and the other is your checking account number.
In this example check provided by TDBank, the routing number and account number are highlighted. These numbers are printed on checks using a metallic ink that helps computers to verify the authenticity of the check. This special process is one of the reasons that checks cost more than other types of printing. The best way to save money is by ordering checks online.
The routing number is always nine numbers and identifies the bank the check is drawn against. The number of digits in an account can vary like the number of digits in your check number, which is the last number (9999) on the sample check. It’s best to use an existing check to get this information and avoid any confusion such as providing your savings account number by mistake.
Take note of all three numbers. The first two numbers, the routing number
Look for the last check in your checkbook and begin your next set of checks with the next check number (10000) in this example. Check-printing services also use your routing number and checking account number to validate that your bank and personal information matches what is on file at your bank. Some vendors require that you send a voided check to validate your information and reduce errors.
Unless you pay for rush service, expect to wait two to three weeks for your new checks to arrive. Account validation itself can take two business days and then the order is placed in the queue to be processed.
Prices for checks can vary widely, particularly if you need rush service. Pricing your order by the box can also be misleading. Costco sells 246 checks per box and Walmart sells 150 checks per box. Even if the price per box is similar, the cost per check may be much higher with one vendor compared to another.
Depending on the vendor you choose, expect a range of between $0.02 per check up to $0.12 per check for standard checks, all of which are likely to be less expensive than ordering directly from your bank, which might charge as much as $0.18 per check.
What to Look for in a Check Company
Online Reviews and CPSA
If you think about the information you’ll need to provide when you order checks, the same information someone would need to empty your bank account, you’ll understand the importance of choosing a reputable and well-established business to process your order.
The Check Payment Systems Association (CPSA) is a non-profit organization founded in 1952 dedicated to promoting check safety and incorporating fraud prevention features in checks. It’s likely that the checks you received from your bank have the padlock logo that represents the CPSA and indicates that the checks have anti-fraud features. Look for the CPSA logo or the padlock on check printing websites before placing your order.
Note the padlock on the right of the check indicating the check has additional security features.
You’ll also want to consider the company’s focus on customer service. If you’re almost out of checks, waiting several weeks for your order just won’t do — even if the price is lower than competitors. Before you complete your order, check the website for a toll-free number or live chat support as well. If you have a question or a problem with your order, speak to a customer service representative.
If you’re ordering checks for your business, premium features like security enhancements, deluxe paper or custom logos may be more important to you as well. Your checks are a subtle reflection of your business. Checks with a message, a scenic vista or a favorite sports team can be fun. Just be aware that custom designs tend to cost a bit more.
Best Places to Order Personal Checks
Tired of those plain blue checks you’ve been using for years? This is your chance for a change of scenery. For most households, the focus for checks is primarily on cost with variety, quality and security features as added bonuses. Here are some of our favorites.
If you’ve ever searched for inexpensive printing or business cards, you’ve probably come across Vistaprint. This printing powerhouse is a great source for checks as well, and the price is hard to beat.
Most customers give Vistaprint a five-star review and it’s clear it delivers on its promise of affordable checks with fast service and accurate printing.
Vistaprint’s check selection is more limited than with some providers, like Bradford Exchange or Checks in The Mail, but there are still dozens of choices for cost-conscious buyers, ranging from birds to flags or even stylish leopard prints.
The Bradford Exchange
The Bradford Exchange is worth a closer look because it offers up to 70 percent off bank prices. As you might expect from a company known for customized and personalized gifts, the check selection is vast. It’s possibly the largest in our roundup with over 800 design choices available.
The Bradford Exchange guarantees that your checks will work with your financial institution with standard security features built in.
The company also offers affordable check fraud protection as a one-time purchase with your order and give you added security without a monthly commitment.
If you’re a Costco shopper, you already know this warehouse superstore offers a great selection of just about everything at prices that tempt you to fill your cart. Costco is our value leader for checks as well, and you won’t have to sacrifice on selection or standard security features to save on checks.
Checks are provided through an affiliation with Harland Clarke, a recognized leader in payment services, so you can be assured that check quality is top notch and the selection is fantastic. You’ll find Disney, dog breed checks and a number of other themes to express yourself and make bill paying (almost) fun.
High-security checks are also available and so are computer checks for QuickBooks. Costochecks.com offers free standard shipping on most orders.
Best Places to Order Business Checks
Businesses often have different needs when buying checks. Security is often a bigger concern, as is compatibility with business software like QuickBooks. Here are some of the best in the business for business checks.
In many industries, there’s one company that is the gold standard for the industry. Deluxe has become nearly synonymous with checks and it may even be the supplier your bank uses. The gold analogy isn’t limited to quality. Deluxe can be pricey as well. For many businesses, the premium price is a small price to pay for the additional security features and overall unquestionable quality of Deluxe checks.
According to the company’s website, small businesses lose more than 7 percent of their annual revenue to fraud, including check fraud. The statistic is alarming if you’re a business owner.
Deluxe offers security options such as heat reactive ink, chemical wash-detection and anti-copy technology to help prevent check-related fraud and protect your bottom line. High-security checks through Deluxe are available to work with Sage50, Quicken, Microsoft Money, QuickBooks, Quick Pay and more.
If you have a small business, there’s a good chance you’re using QuickBooks. Like Deluxe, QuickBooks places its focus on check security rather than price, incorporating up to 29 security features in its checks. The lowest cost option with QuickBooks checks is the company’s manual business checks, which are the type of checks built for check binders and are priced up to 30% less than ordering checks through many banks.
Checks designed for use with QuickBooks software are pricier but provide special security features and offer simple customization. Because QuickBooks supplies the checks, you don’t have to worry about whether the checks will work with your QuickBooks software.
Checks In The Mail
Checks In The Mail offers up to 25 security features and reduces fraud risk and tampering. It’s another solid choice for security-minded businesses. Checks are printed in association with Harland Clarke and assure top quality.
You can also choose from a more colorful selection than some competitors. From scenic lighthouses and crashing waves to checks with a patriotic flair, you’re not limited to no-frills blue or green.
Checks In The Mail offers checks that are compatible with QuickBooks as well as laser checks for computer printing and continuous form checks for dedicated printers. As you’d expect from a premium supplier, security enhancements are provided in accordance with Check Payment Systems Association guidelines. Look for coupon codes on their site. There’s always a way to save with Checks In The Mail.
Which Check Provider is Best for You?
Checks are one of those things we often take for granted — until it’s time to order more and we see how much the bank charges for replacement checks.
Fortunately, there are some great choices available that offer low prices, wide selection, enhanced security and sometimes all three at once. It’s important to plan ahead. Priority processing and rush delivery can easily erase the savings you realize by ordering checks online.