Even in the age of online billpay, it’s still sometimes necessary to write a check. In our case, the check-writing ritual is most often associated with miscellaneous school expenses (PTO fund raisers, pre-paying for hot lunches, etc.) as well as things like Cub Scout expenses or sports registration. Even though we go through checks more slowly than we used to, we still run out from time to time. This begs the question of what’s the best way to re-order checks without getting ripped off?
Rule #1: Ordering checks through your bank is generally not the best way to do things. Most banks charge a premium, so you’ll end up overpaying by a huge amount.
On the flipside, you don’t want to Google your way over to a random check printing website and plug in all your banking information, as that’s a surefire way to open yourself up to the risk of identity theft. That brings us to…
Rule #2: Don’t order checks from unknown individuals/companies. This goes for both websites (no matter how slick they might look) as well as telemarketers (no matter how honest they might sound).
So if you don’t order through your bank, and you don’t order through a little known company, then what should you do? Simple, focus on reputable check printers. While I don’t have an exhaustive list of such printers, I do have some experience in this area… In the past, we have usually order checks through Current, which we originally discovered years and years ago through a circular in our Sunday paper.
A bit more digging has, however, revealed that Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart have entered the check printing business (here and here, although both sites can be accessed direct from the Wal-Mart and Sam’s homepages). Whatever your opinion of the Wal-Mart corporation, their checks are pretty darn cheap, and there’s also pretty much no chance that they’ll decide to steal your identity and drain your bank account.
Here’s a quick price comparison based on four boxes of duplicate (i.e., carbon-copy) checks:
Sam’s Club = $23.26 ($23.26 + Free Standard Shipping)
Wal-Mart = $35.44 ($27.84 + $7.60 S&H)
Current = $35.98 ($28.99 + $6.99 S&H; this is an introductory offer)
Bank of America = $63.00 ($31.50 for two boxes x 2, free S&H)
Note that Sam’s Club “Plus” members will get about 20% better pricing than they listed above.
So there you have it… You can usually save a ton by going somewhere besides your bank for your check printing needs, and you can really clean up at a place like Sam’s Club.
And while we’re on the subject of check safety, be sure to look over my check writing tips, and don’t forget to think before you write that check!