One of the benefits of my Bank of America premium checking account is free checks. However, they recommend "secure and trackable" shipping for the low-low price of only $8.40. Is that just a sneaky way of making my free checking really not free? Should I be afraid of doing the no frills snail shipping method that is actually $0.00? I'm not in any hurry, but I also don't want to have to do stop payments on several hundred checks.
Having seen the process of reporting and dealing with stolen checks I would pay the fee and, very truthfully, I would do everything in my power to avoid getting checks at all. Many of the banks now offer online interfaces that allow you to provide the payee information and they will send a printed check on your behalf, which is much much safer.
If someone steals a book of your checks multiple things have to be done and the process is ongoing and painful. This is by no means a complete list, but it shows how painful this can be.
- Close the bank account (And change and direct deposit or autopay setups)
- Report to ChexSystems (reporting agency for checking accounts)
- Fill out a fraud report for every stolen check that gets used
- Fill out a fraud report for every bad check of someone else's that gets logged against your account
We closed the bank account within 15 minutes of the checks being stolen and still multiple checks got through, both written directly against the account as well as the thieves cashing other people's stolen checks against the account since they new the account number. Several times they were able to do this within the bank, even though the account had already been closed so it's a major problem if your checks disappear, and if you don't have a way to track them then you'll be very late in realizing that they're stolen.
Additionally this bank (not sure if this is common with others) insisted on paying the stolen money back into the closed account, instead of into a new account. This allowed the thieves to steal the same money several times over, forcing us through the weeks long process of reporting the fraud and dealing with the bank's fraud investigators again.
Bank of America allows you to ship checks to a branch of your choice.
You might prefer this over shipping in the mail or having it shipped securely (and paying the extra $8.40).
My branch calls me when the checks arrive (via BoA's secure shipment). If the teller does not know you by sight, she will ask for identification (which is a good thing!). I believe that the bank takes responsibility for the checks until you sign for them.
So save your $8.40, and pick up your checks on your time and BoA's dime.
I do not know if other banks provide this service, but I much prefer having checks shipped this way.
- Do they send you another set if you have them shipped insecurably and untrackably?
- Will they fix up your account at no charge in case the missing checks fall into the wrong hands?
- How long does all of this take?
All in all, though, $8.40 isn't a whole lot to pay for "several hundred" checks anyway. This beats even discount check printers if I recall correctly.