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.