How to Order Checks Without Getting Ripped Off

Your bank is the worst place to buy checks. Banks are way too expensive. Here are the best places to order checks without getting ripped off.

If you’ve signed up for a checking account at a brick and mortar bank, then you likely know the routine.  First show proper ID and sign the necessary paperwork. Then the bank CSR will ask you how many checks you’d like to purchase.   “So Mr. Pruser, are you thinking six books today, or eight?  If you buy eight, we’ll toss in a terrifically generic checkbook cover!”

You may not realize it at the time but the convenience of buying checks from your bank can be quite expensive.  In fact, the cost of checks through your bank can be twice or three times as expensive then if you purchased them elsewhere.  So where can you buy them?  And is it safe to purchase checks outside of your bank?

Best Places to Buy Checks Online

Even though you may not write a lot of checks, let’s assume you decide that you need 500 personal checks (w/ duplicate copies).  A small enough number where you don’t want to spend more than $50 but large enough where you won’t have to worry about this purchase for a long time.  Here’s a snapshot of what that would cost you, through four high quality retailers.

Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club sells their standard personal checks in books of 180.  It will take you three books in order to fill an order of 500, and the cost for each standard book is just $5.98.  Multiply that out by three books, and you end up with a total cost of $17.94.  Sam’s Club offers free standard shipping, so no added fees on top of your total.  The small catch however, is that you must be a Sam’s Club member to take advantage of the pricing.

If you’re into more security, you can upgrade your checks to include a service called FraudArmor.  Think of it like an added layer of identity theft protection.  Should someone fraudulently sign your name to a check or commit fraud in some other way using your checks, they’ll step in and help.  Depending on the book of checks you select, there is either no charge, or a charge of up to $2.70 per pack.  The service lasts one full year.

Walmart

Walmart sells checks in packs of 150, so you’ll need four packs to reach the 500 number (with many left over).  Four packs of their standard blue security checks will cost you $29.84.  Walmart includes free standard shipping but you can rush the order for an additional $15.00

Like many other check printing outlets, Walmart will allow you to customize your checks, or select from a variety of designs and fonts.  CheckSafe is the fraud service you can include in your check purchase. The cost is $1.50 per 150 checks you order.  If your checks are used in a fraudulent manner (within the first 12 months), CheckSafe will provide you replacements at no costs and work with you to tackle the situation.  You can visit their site CheckSafeService.com to view the specifics of their protection.

Costco

Sticking with the blue security check theme, Costco sells their checks in boxes of 246 so buying two boxes of checks will run you a total of just $14.57.  If you’re a Costco Executive Member, the price is an even cheaper $11.66.   All checks are printed through Harland Clarke check printing; one of the largest payment solution companies in the United States.

Costco also provides a wide variety of other payment related stationary like address labels, tax forms, ink stamps etc.  The only thing that would keep Costco from being the obvious go-to stop for the cheapest checks is that you must be a Costco member.  Depending on your membership, that means either $50 or $100 a year.  If you shop Costco often then you’ll earn the membership fee back quickly.  If you’re joining Costco simply to take advantage of their cheaper checks, look somewhere else.

Checks.com

I’ve selected some very tasteful “Wonders of the Sea” checks, with what looks like clown fish on them.  Four boxes of checks (125 per box) totals $19.80.  Checks.com is kind enough to also offer free standard shipping.

In addition to buying checks, you can also find return labels, deposit slips, and routine stationery items.  The free standard shipping applies to all purchases and if you need items rushed, that can be done for a $5.95 fee.  Like others on this list, Checks.com offers identity theft restoration services should something happen.  Their service is called EZShield and it comes in the form of a Check Fraud Protection Program ($2.45 extra per box) and Identity Restoration (one time $6 fee).

Vistaprint

Vistaprint does things a little differently.  You can purchase checks in groups of 25 but when you look at their prices, you may be in a bit of sticker shock.  Fear not, this company is well known for offering a bevy of promo codes to bring down the price.  For example, promo code LABEL25 will cut the cost of your checks in half.  Still however, a full 500 checks will cost you $44.85 before shipping.

The most expensive option on our list, I’ve included Vistaprint because they offer the widest variety of checks.  You can customize them to just about any style or format you wish.  In addition, you can upload pictures to your check and/or create your own design.  If the look of a check is important to you

Is Ordering Checks Online Safe?

If you’re afraid to give your bank account or personal information to the companies above, you should know they’re no less safe than a bank.  In fact, banks like Chase, Citi and Capital One do not print their own checks.  They take your information and give it to the very same check printing companies a merchant like Walmart will.

In order to ensure your checks are printed properly, you’ll need to supply the following information:

  • Your banks routing number
  • Your account number (you’ll likely have to enter this information twice)
  • A check number you’d like to start with
  • Your full name and address.  (Phone number is optional)

If a check printing company is asking you for your social security number, it’s likely a scam.  If a check printing company is asking you for any personal documents, it is likely a scam.  The only additional step you may need to provide is to confirm small deposits into your checking account.  This is done to ensure you are the owner of the account, which prevents random people who have your account number from printing checks with your information.

Do your homework, and do your best to avoid buying checks at the bank.

37 Responses to “How to Order Checks Without Getting Ripped Off”

  1. Elizabeth

    I totally disagree. I work in cybersecurity and as far as getting checks, I go with the advice of Frank Abagnale who does not advise using any discount/online bank printing business – only bank vetting check printers. Also, as much as possible I use online banking and have the bank either make a direct transfer or use a printed check where there is no ink to be “washed” and changed to another amount.

  2. Patrick

    I don’t know how or why, but even now, in 2017, my credit union still provides free checks, whenever I reorder. I’m not complaining. It’s a great credit union, with low fees on its various loan products and excellent customer service. Banks just seem to get greedier by the day, but credit unions — certain ones, at least — continue to prove themselves to their owner-members as top-notch financial institutions.

  3. Illinois Small Business Owner

    Great price on Walmart checks, including free delivery. However the $11.95 “handling charge” is a ripoff and makes it less of an overall deal.

  4. The price of a box of checks should be inclusive of any handling bull shit. You’re paying for a printed box of checks that are 99% automated in the first place. There is no ‘handling’.

    I don’t charge my customers for handling and I have a lot to pack for every order.

    This is disgusting and greedy. It’s what’s wrong with the world.

  5. Anonymous

    Checks Unlimited offers extremely prices for new customers. 2 Boxes for roughly $13. Google their name to get the offer, going to the site directly will not get it for you.

  6. Anonymous

    This is April 25, 2016. I am looking for some good quality checks at a reasonable price. Duplicates, but other than that, nothing fancy.

    There are just SO many places on the net to buy them from, I have no idea. Has anyone bought any recently that they are happy with?

    And thank you to all those who put the companies up there who were NOT satisfactory, at least I know not to buy from them.

    I don’t use checks that often, but have finally ran out of the last ones I got from the bank. And before that, I had ordered on-line (or by mail, probably), but it was so many years ago I don’t even know where for sure.

    One place was satisfactory, another was not -it was cheap quality paper and ink and also did NOT tear and kept ripping the checks when I tried to get them out!

    I don’t plan on buying many, but I’d at least like to get some decent quality ones for my money.

  7. Anonymous

    I just ordered new checks from Checks Tomorrow in Kentucky. DO NOT USE THEM. Found them on the Internet, but called them as I do not put my personal info on the Net. I found a coupon that gives new customers 100 free checks in addition. Where other companies take my phone orders, they would not and told me to fax it in along with a voided check, which I did.
    The checks arrived in a timely manner, however full of problems. No 100 extra checks, the bottom line with the bank routing number was wrong and had the check number listed first which should have been last. I had paid extra for a custom font and that had all the numbers – Zipcode & address printed half the size of the letters.
    I called and told her the checks needed to be redone. also changed the font. They would not honor the offer for 100 free checks saying the coupon was not one of their websites and they were not responsible for what someone else puts on the Net.
    The replacements came within 6 days as a rush. Corrections had been made, but then I discovered that the deposit slips had a string of odd numbers on them where the bank routing numbers are that were not on my old deposit slips, I don’t know where they got those from, so they are going into the trash. I don’t even want to talk to them again to get that redone. If they had just taken my order over the phone like other check printers have done, I feel this could have all been avoided.
    I picked them because they have a wide variety of checks and the one I was looking for, which is not common. I could have gotten those checks from 2 other printers, but chose Checks Tomorrow because of the 100 free checks coupon which they did not honor.

  8. Anonymous

    Current Checks and Colorful Images each print 125 single checks per one box of checks. To quote their page “How to Order Checks”: “125 personalized checks in 3 pads of 30 checks and 1 pad of 35 checks, with 5 deposit tickets in each pad.”

  9. Anonymous

    Are there any companies out there that still print checkbooks with 25 checks per checkbook, instead of 24? All the banks, etc, are moving to 24 now, which to an OCD person like myself is annoying, since I like to have the numbers all end on an “even” number. So I’m looking for someone that prints 20 or 25 per checkbook, not 24.

  10. Anonymous

    I was shocked when phoning in an order to Designer Checks and was quoted $48 for what should have been a $20 order. (Believe me, I didn’t continue with that order!) Designer Checks now charges a per-box “handling fee” and charges for a register!

    I’ve had excellent results with Current checks and Colorful Images checks (partner companies). Each charges $11.99 per box and includes a free register. NO additional charges except the normal shipping for any merchandise in their catalogs–and they each have lots of free shipping flash sales throughout the year.

  11. Anonymous

    The problem with the on-line check companies is that they are simply dishonest in their pricing. Having visited numerous such sites, the most recent being Extra Value Checks, they love to show you the price all along the way. Then wham, you get to the end and your price has doubled with their plethora of endless fees. Of course, to get to this point, the “teaser” total price with free shipping is continuously shown on each screen asking for your personal information.

    Why can’t any of these sites just be upfront with their pricing? I hate any website that hides the costs and I refuse to support them.

    If anybody knows of a decent check site that is upfront with their pricing before entering in personal data, post the site. I don’t want to get to the last page only to find there is a typesetting fee, a handling fee, a packaging fee. There should be a flat typesetting fee and amount that should be made clear before even starting to “shop”. Handling fees, etc. . . should be made clear as well.

  12. Anonymous

    I was about to order checks from Harland Clarke but saw it had bad reviews. Their login asks for my routing and bank account info up front before I see pricing. I found your info site and appreciate the input. I am going with Sams to try. Thanks again

  13. Anonymous

    Does anyone remember way back in the stone age when you ordered a box of checks it was so stuffed full of books of checks and a deposit register and a vinyl cover? So stuffed the box lid didn’t go down all the way? Now, you get one book of checks and a thank you note for letting us rip you off.

  14. Anonymous

    I JUST GOT RIPPED OFF BY HARLAND CLARKE. I got lazy and used the reorder form in the bottom of my check box without shopping around. They charged me $108.84 for 4 boxes. That’s more that $1.08 for every check! I’m putting a note in the bottom of my last box of checks to shop around the next time I’m running low.

  15. Anonymous

    We got sooo ripped off from reordering @ Checks Unlimited: 4 boxes (more than we old folks will ever use) for $104 and change!!!! My husband…mentally failing….got talked into the 4 boxes, a special speed printing and I don’t know what else. The HANDLING is $12.50; Shipping additional $10…not sure if that’s per box or not. So: Here’s fair warning: BE SURE TO SHOP AROUND. There are huge differences!

  16. Anonymous

    I ordered checks on line through the Bradford Exchange, but I was not satisfied and asked for my money back. The checks were so pretty on the website but when they sent them the colors were awful. They did not send me the full refund back either!

  17. Anonymous

    Your sweeping generalizations about lesser known companies is troubling to say the least. Even Amazon was once little known and yet did a marvelous job.

    Sure, there are crooks out there but way, way, way fewer than the 24/7 news cycle would have you believe. Fear, fear, and more fear is the poison they sell. When it comes to controlling human beings, it is the oldest trick in the book. Seize the mind and the body will follow. Fear is also the best way to divide and conquer the masses. If you do not trust ANYONE, then you will be unable to band together and affect real change.

    You may be interested to know that Walmart and Sam’s do not print their own checks. Both are printed by ChecksInTheMail which is owned by Harland Clarke. It appears Costco uses BradfordExchangeChecks which are also printed by Harland Clarke.

    Generally speaking, you get low intro offers, ridiculously high reorder rates, impersonal customer service and slow delivery from the big boys and consistent pricing on orders/reorders, old-world service and fast delivery from the smaller companies. On average, there is little to no difference when it comes to quality and security.

  18. Anonymous

    I do on line banking and now my payments get there ON TIME and I have had no problems! I still use checks for misc things. It is time for me to order some new checks which is how I found this site. I like pretty fancy checks so I try different companies. Recently I had a bad experience. The checks I received had very poor quality color and did not look like what was shown on the company web site. Also, I discovered that the checks had my correct account number, but the deposit slips had a completely different number. I contacted the company and told them I want my money back. I am suppose to receive a credit on my next bill. If not I will contact them again or if necessary the Attorney General’s Office.

  19. Anonymous

    Just checked Costco (not a Sam’s Club member but a Costco Member.) $23.01 for 4 boxes and free shipping. 20% off of that for Executive Members. I sure wish I would have checked them before I ordered my last batch from Designerchecks.com

    Thanks for a great site!

  20. Anonymous

    Right now I am looking for cheap checks. My husband and I tried online bill paying and WHAT A HASSLE! Late payments, triple payments being taken out once our tax refund entered the account. Grrr! We keep our accounts separate and my husband does the most bill paying. I never stopped using checks and my hubby is going back to writing his own checks. Why should someone else write a check for us? Or transfer our money without permission. It was the gas company who took out 3 months without permission and the insurance company didn’t receive its payment because it didn’t go through. Stop the insanity is all I can say, the online bill pay is the old story of two many cooks spoil the soup or in this case too many hands steal the ingredients before you can make soup.

    One more thing, I don’t even have an atm card because I worry I might overdraw. Both my young adult daughters are the banks dream because they keep paying overdrafts which is because they just whip out the atm card and don’t have to think like you do when you write a check. I am thinking of telling them to get a credit card and use it when only when in doubt about their bank amount and pay it off monthly. I do this on occasion.

  21. Anonymous

    I belong to PSECU credit union (the largest credit union in Pennsylvnia) and I can get a basic (nothing fancy) box of duplicate checks through them for $1.59. If I want to “go crazy” and get something with a picture on it, I can get them for $3.70 and for a little over a buck more I can get a fancy print on them. So, if I go all out, for just under $5.00 I can get a box of duplicate checks, with a picture and fancy writing. Since I don’t write many checks, paying a little over 3 cents per check is worth it.

  22. Anonymous

    I have encountered no problems ordering checks from sources other than banks. On the other hand my current bank sent checks (which I never ordered) to my former address which I discovered after a former neighbor called me. The bank was unapologetic. Another bank printed checks using my SAVINGS ACCOUNT NO.! So much for bank security and accuracy.

  23. Anonymous

    How is the quality of the Walmart / Sam’s Club checks? Do they feel/look cheap, or ate they pretty comparable to those provided though one’s bank?

  24. Anonymous

    I still have checks in my current check register from 2003. I use my bank’s bill pay and rarely use a paper check.

    I’ve had the same 2 checking accounts for over 12 years. Although I’ve moved numerous times, I still use my checks until I empty the box. I’m always getting those donation requests that come with address labels. I just put one of these new labels over the address portion of my old (and already paid for) checks. I have yet to have a problem with them getting accepted of cashed.

  25. Anonymous

    I’ve only ever ordered checks from the bank. But that’s because (so far) I’ve never lived in one place long enough to run out of checks, and no reputable shop (except the one affiliated with one’s bank) is going to print new checks with different information than what the old checks have.

    At historical rates of depletion, the $23.60 I just spent on my most recent batch of new checks should last me for 5 years…which is longer than I’ve ever lived in one place before. I expect to live here indefinitely though, so no more address changes. During those 5 years, however, I’ll be getting married and so my fiancee-to-be-wife’s name will be getting added. So let’s call it 7 years before the first reorder of identical checks in my life makes third-party discount printers an available option. And let’s just assume that the reorder after we’re married costs the same as this one did.

    Which means that, to cover my paper-check-writing needs for the next seven years, the total cost will be $47.20. (Actually it’ll be way more than that, because I spend more than that every year on pens to write checks with, most of which get stolen by my cow-orkers. But this thread is about the checks themselves.)

    This works out to approximately 56 cents per month. If it weren’t for the planned marriage, those two check orders would cover 10 years instead, and the cost would be 39 cents per month. And that’s the rate I pay buying them through my bank’s official preferred vendor.

    Certainly when those 7 years are over I’ll probably find the cheapest price I can. But frankly, at an actual current cost of 56 cents per month and a probable future cost of 39 cents per month, I don’t exactly get the feeling that NBD/FCNBD/BankOne/Chase/whoever-they-merge-with-and-change-their-name-to-next is seriously cheating me or cutting into my budget to any degree worth thinking about.

    What would REALLY be nice would be a discount check printer that didn’t force me to order new checks from the bank FIRST before they’d update any of my information. But I’m given to understand that such a policy would now be against the law, so I’m not exactly hunting for it strenuously.

  26. Anonymous

    I don’t understand why people with money have to pay for checks. I too work as a banker, and I have found that most banks will give you free checks for life with a certain amount of minimum balance (usually $2-10k). WaMu even offers them on their free for any joker checking accounts. (No, I don’t work for WaMu.)

    I think that as more people transition to the online way of doing things checks will become free for everyone. Theres no way that the check printing business is sustainable over the long haul. (By long haul I mean at least 30+ years, so please take it easy on the flames 😉

  27. Anonymous

    I agree with you, but sometimes the bank can be cheaper depending on the type of account you have with them. My bank offers free checks as long as I don’t mind them being “standard” checks imprinted with their logo.

  28. Anonymous

    I work as a banker for a very large bank and it makes no difference to me personally whether a customer buys checks from the bank or through a 3rd party vendor. However, I always caution the customer that there are risks to ordering from an outside vendor. I recently had a customer who ordered checks from an outside vendor and had the wrong account number on the bottom of the check in the MICR line (he was missing one digit). This created a huge headache for the customer because he had already written 7 checks with the wrong account number. I guess that’s a great reason to always verify information is correct everywhere on your checks when you receive them, instead of just skimming over them as I usually do.

  29. Anonymous

    I work for a check printing company, so I get all of my checks for free.

    We also offer very competitive prices, especially if you print your checks through Microsoft Money or Quicken or a similar program.

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