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I bank with chase and my account type does not qualify me for free check books. I have to pay a fee to get a check book. Is there a way I can:

  1. Get a free check book for my account?
  2. Print my own free checks for my account?
  3. Get my own free checks printed for my account?

I am also interested in options that would allow me to get checks at a fraction of the cost that my bank would charge me.

Thanks.

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Are you open to using electronic checks, similar to bill pay? –  MrChrister Dec 30 '12 at 9:24
    
@MrChrister Thanks. I am aware of that option but unfortunately I cannot use electronic cheques to pay certain bills because sometimes the deadline for paying those bills falls over a weekend when the bank is closed. –  abc Dec 30 '12 at 12:43
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@ABC Bill pay sends your "check" either electronically or physically to the person/business. It is generally available via an online interface. You just have to enter the info with enough time to have the check mailed by your bank. –  mhoran_psprep Dec 30 '12 at 14:05
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Have you considered paying bills whose deadline is over a weekend on the last business day of the preceding week? Given that checking accounts (at least in the US) are hardly paying any interest at all, having the money removed from your account one or two days earlier is not likely to impact your finances very much. The only issue would be if you are being paid on Fridays and don't have enough money to pay the bills on Friday till after your paycheck is deposited. –  Dilip Sarwate Dec 30 '12 at 14:44
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If a bill falls due on a weekend, it's due on the Monday. In this day of amazing computing machines, one would think that my credit card's billing system can automatically use a rule "if day = (sat or sun), then set day = monday" something like that. –  JoeTaxpayer Dec 30 '12 at 15:01
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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

There is no reason you must buy the bank's printed check. There are many places both physical stores and on line the offer check printing.

From what I've seen, the requirement is the use of a magnetic ink the bank's equipment can properly scan. I may not even be correct there if they've all gone fully optical. The checks you buy on line are a fraction of the cost the bank would charge you.

Edit - On searching, I find VistaPrint offers free checks. I've not ordered checks from them, but I suspect free orders require you pay shipping. I've used VistaPrint for business cards, promotional items, and holiday cards. I can say, I've been pleased with their quality.

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"fraction of the cost the bank would charge you." I suspect that unless the numerator of the fraction is zero, the OP is not interested. The word "free" occurs in all three of the numbered questions.... –  Dilip Sarwate Dec 30 '12 at 15:12
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Well, if OP wishes to actually print his own checks, good luck finding free paper and free ink. I hope my point was not lost on him - there are other choices than the bank-issued checks. (Updated answer, search shows a free vendor) –  JoeTaxpayer Dec 30 '12 at 15:19
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The cost of checks at my credit union is $4.00 for a box of 150 checks. At the rate of two checks a month for the non-electronic transactions I do, that will take me 10+ years to use, unless I move first. –  mhoran_psprep Dec 30 '12 at 15:35
    
@JoeTaxpayer Thanks for your answer and suggestion Joe. Your point was definitely not lost on me :) I have modified my original post to specify "at a fraction of the cost the bank would charge" –  abc Dec 31 '12 at 9:22
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@abc - glad to help. And glad to share some of the fun Dilip and I have on this site. One of many friends here who keep me on my toes, and help make me a better writer. –  JoeTaxpayer Dec 31 '12 at 20:15
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First, if you live in/around a reasonably populated urban area, and you're in the United States, I can't see why you would choose to bank with Chase, B of A, or another large commercial bank. I think you would be much better served by banking at a reasonably large credit union.

There are many differences between banks and credit unions, but in a nutshell, credit unions are owned by the members, and operate primarily to provide benefits to their members, whereas a bank is owned by the shareholders, and operates primarily to make profits for the shareholders (not to benefit the customers). The banking industry absolutely hates the credit unions, so if you've ever been nickeled-and-dimed with this fee and that charge by your bank, I have to ask why you're still banking with a company that irritates you and/or actively tries to screw you out of your money?

I live in California, and I've banked at credit unions almost exclusively since I started working nearly 30 years ago. Every time I've strayed and started banking at a for-profit bank, I've regretted it.

For example, a few years ago I opened a checking account at a now-defunct bank (WaMu) just for online use: eBay and so forth. It was a free checking account. When Chase bought WaMu, the account became a Chase account, and it seemed that every other statement brought new fees, new restrictions, and so forth. I finally closed it when they imposed some stupid fee for not carrying enough of a balance. I found out by logging in to their Web site and seeing a balance of zero dollars; they had imposed the fee a few statements back, and I had missed it, so they kept debiting my account until it was empty.

At this point, I do about 90% of my banking at a fairly large credit union. I have a mortgage with a big bank, but that was out of my hands, as the lender/originator sold the mortgage and I had no say in the matter. My credit union has a highly functional Web site, permits me to download my account activity to Quicken, and even has mobile apps which allow me to deposit a check by taking a picture of it, or check my account activity, etc.

They (my credit union) are part of a network of other credit unions, so as long as I am using a network ATM, I never pay a fee.

In sum, I can't see any reason to go with a bank.

Regarding checks, I write a small number of checks per year, but I recently needed to reorder them. My credit union refers members directly to Harland-Clarke, a major-league player in the check printing business. Four boxes of security checks was around $130 plus shipping, which is not small money. However, I was able to order the very same checks via Costco for less than half that amount. Costco refers members to a check printing service, which is a front/subsidiary of Harland-Clarke, and using a promo code, plus the discount given for my Costco membership, I got four boxes of security checks shipped to me for less than $54.

My advice would be to look around. If you're a Costco member, use their check printing service. Wal*mart offers a similar service to anyone, as does Sam's Club, and you can search around to find other similar services.

Bottom line, if you order your checks via your bank or credit union, chances are you will pay full retail. Shop around, and save a bit.

I've not opened a new account at a credit union in some time, but I would not be surprised if a credit union offered a free box of checks when you open a new account with them.

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Credit Unions and small banks are feeling squeezed on fees so some are no longer providing free boxes of checks. –  mhoran_psprep Jan 3 '13 at 2:33
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Although not required, #2 would work best if you used magnetic ink... That is an extra cost which you may or may not want to pay for.

You can often get a free checking account and a free set of checks if you can meet the minimum requirements. This often means a higher average daily balance, direct deposit, or some combination of multiple requirements.

The bank is taking a risk that a client meeting those minimum requirements while likely earn the bank more in fees and services than what they give out for "free" such as the account and checks.

My wife and I opened a Wells Fargo checking account two years ago. Back then, we were able to open the account for free along with a free set of 250 checks. I think the requirement now requires $7,500 average daily balance with

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