I opened a new account for my business and got a bunch of starter checks. They have the routing and account numbers preprinted with MICR font and magnetic (I presume...) ink, but they don't have a check number.

Is it OK to use them as checks? Is a check number required, or is just a convenience for tracking?

  • I have always not used them, but I don't know why. Hope someone will fill me in too.
    – MrChrister
    Dec 12, 2011 at 4:01

2 Answers 2


For the clearing house, only the routing number and the check amount [which gets encoded before its presented to clearing] is important. The check numbers were put in as a fraud prevention mechanism to ensure that one check was only presented once and that it was issued to a particular account. Typically issued in sequence.

So as your account is new, the bank may have a mechanism to verify the checks [maybe based on amount and other info]. If your volume of check issuing increases, they may start putting in a check number to better track.


They are valid checks, but you're going to get hassled when you try to use them. There's a perception that people using starter checks are more likely to bounce or otherwise be troublesome. When more payments were made with checks, some vendors would not accept checks with low numbers either!

Checks are very cheap to get printed these days, save yourself some trouble and get some printed.

  • Its not the trouble, its the time... I need to write a check this week.
    – littleadv
    Dec 12, 2011 at 17:24

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