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Best Price on Bank Checks

3 ChecksIt probably isn’t often that you have occasion to purchase bank checks. Most of my financial life is done online, through EFT, or other electronic methods. But last week I needed to get some new checks and I couldn’t even remember where to get the best deal. I just know it’s not my bank. So I did some research on the best price for bank checks online.

It’s fair to note that the difference between the most expensive and the least expensive bank check services is probably no more than 5¢ per check. And you probably won’t be spending this money more than once every few years. So, obviously, this isn’t something to spend hours researching. (How much is your time worth?) While searching for a good deal, I found some things to be mindful of.

First, there are a gazillion companies that sell bank checks online. There are about as many sites that don’t sell anything directly, they just link to the real sellers (and, presumably, take a cut). Look carefully for reputable printers. Unfortunately, some of them have awful web sites that are hard to navigate, but they might still be legitimate sources.

Second, it’s hard to compare apples to apples—probably intentionally. But I found four key things to ask:

  • Number of checks per box?
  • Shipping charges added?
  • Handling charge added
  • Deposit slips included?

More often than not the “lowest price” really isn’t — when you consider the final cost per check.

Fourth, watch for the upcharge. Many companies charge more for fancy checks than plain ones. Others charge for a different typeface. (Really?) Still more charge you to add a logo or symbol. All charge for duplicate checks. Many that claim “free shipping,” charge a per box handling fee that turns the advertised low price a terrible deal.

Make sure you know exactly what you are paying for and decide if it’s a feature you want to pay for. Maybe those little cartoon fishies are cute as can be (for some strange reason, my husband doesn’t think so!), but is that really where you want to put your money when they charge a premium for it?

When all was said and done, I ended up using VistaPrint. This is a very reliable company that I have used for business cards and postcards in the past, but I had no idea they offered bank checks. I kind of stumbled upon them in a google search. (Look under Products for Home & Family>Stationery & Home Office>Checks.)

I decided that I would get enough checks to last for a number of years. This has two distinct advantages:

  • I won’t have to go through the rigamarole again for the foreseeable future
  • I qualified for free shipping

VistaPrint was tied for the lowest per check charge I found, but with free shipping it’s a killer deal. And there’s another great thing about getting into the free shipping zone on VistaPrint: you can take advantage of all their monthly free offers without any additional shipping fees! (Without free shipping, the “free” items aren’t always worth the cost, even if you actually needed them.)

When we finally came to the end of the checkout line, this is what I ended up with:

600 Duplicate Wallet Checks, leopard print $25.48
600 Duplicate Wallet Checks, beige script $25.48
25 Duplicate Wallet Checks, yellow (upgraded from the 25 free single checks) $1.49
1 Personalized Car Door Maganet (for Pix2Brix.com) Free
250 Business Cards (for Pix2Brix.com) Free
1 Bank Deposit Stamp, black ink Free
1 Personalized Pen Free

Total cost: $52.45 no shipping or handling fees.

I got a great deal and I already have good experience with the company, so I know the quality and customer service are top-notch. My only warning is that this company is the master of the upsell. At multiple points in your transaction (particularly with the free products) you will be offered add-ons that will cost you more money. Make sure you pay attention to those and only accept those you really want.

Bottom line, we recommend VistaPrint for bank checks, deposit slips, and dozens of home and business products.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Joy October 30, 2009, 6:13 pm

    You saved me a lot of time. I haven’t bought checks forever and had no idea where to look. This article popped up on google and now I have a good answer.

    Thanks for the practical advice. You’re definitely on my RSS feed reader now. Keep up with this kind of post. We all need money-saving advice these days!

  • Alison Moore Smith February 19, 2010, 10:32 am

    Joy, thank you for the kind words. (I just came back to follow up and saw your comment for the first time.) I appreciate it!

    When this order arrived, there was a check numbering problem. Some books had duplicated numbers. Still usable but can cause a mess with your accounting.

    I sent an email to VistaPrint explaining the problem. The next day the posted a credit to my account for the entire order along with an apology.

    Processing wasn’t perfect, but the response from customer service was great. And the free items were very good, too.

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