With the rise in debit card popularity, most individuals rarely use checks any more. In fact, according to a study conducted by the Federal Reserve, the number of checks used in the first decade of the new millennia was down by more than half and falling. While this is the case for most people, it is not quite the case for most businesses, big and small, who still use checks quite frequently for payroll, accounting, and to track business expenses the old fashioned way.
What is the price of business checks, and where do businesses get them? Believe it or not, most banks charge upward of $25 per box ordered. What few businesses realize is they can get a far better selection of checks for far less money by shopping online. Here are some things to consider regarding the price of business checks going forward.
Third Party Options
Third party printers offer huge savings compared to standard bank checks, but depending on what you are looking for, price is just one of the plethora of benefits. According to a recent online study, the least expensive check provider was Sam's Club, selling their checks for about two cents each. That is one-third of the price Bank of America charges for the same service. Costco came in second at close to three cents, and Wal-Mart, owner of Sam's Club, came in third at about four cents per check.
It goes without saying, anytime you need to give out your business's financial information to any third party that you do so with caution. Not everyone offering check services are legitimate printers. It is a good practice to do your homework and conduct a thorough check of any site's reputation through the Better Business Bureau prior to handing out your business account information. This will ensure your safety. Checks for less than a penny each will do you little good, if the company making them ran off with the balance in your business account.
The Check Payment Systems Association vets any and all reputable check printing companies. In this way, consumers are given a virtual stamp of approval. In order to know if a company has been approved by the CPSA or not, look for the padlock on the lower right hand corner anytime you go to order checks from a third party. This icon not only serves the purpose of letting the business ordering know their check printer is trustworthy, it serves the additional function of letting others accepting the business check know the check is not altered or duplicated. If the padlock is there, the company has a reputation of being trustworthy. No padlock, and you are best moving on to other options, but do not overthink the process. The CPSA provides a list of all of their authorized check printers on their website. Remember even most banks these days get their checks from third party providers. It really just comes down to doing one's homework and shopping around.
You are a business. You still need to write out a check or two on a relatively frequent basis. You decide you do not want to pay the higher costs associated with most banks and decide to order from a third party printer. Here is what you need to know before ordering:
- Your business checking account number.
- The bank's routing number.
- The check number of the last check.
Some states require additional information such as the date you opened your account, and a voided check. Most check printers will allow you to see how the checks will look prior to printing. Double check to make sure all of the information is accurate and spelled correctly.
Since checks are the payment method of choice for fraudulent activity, it does not hurt to pay for a few extra security features to ensure your business accounts safety. To be accurate, such things as hologram foil, microprint, watermarks, or heat sensors can add significantly to the cost of your business checks. They will, however, be an added security feature to protect your business. If your company writes vast amounts of checks per year, however, you may want to revisit such costs or find a printer who can accommodate bulk discounts on the service.
While most businesses do not seek to have checks with puppies or a team logo on them, there are advantages to having the option in design. Third party printers provide a much larger selection of colors and styles. Another fantastic option for many small businesses is the ability to make your own design. This feature allows for business logos or elements relevant to your business needs or industry. If you are a professional photographer, for example, you may want your checks to reflect your portfolio along with your name and business logo. This allows your business to express itself while still remaining professional.
If your business has a social consciousness to it, you may opt to promote a charitable association by using their name and logo on your checks in addition to your business's. You can even have checks printed on eco-friendly paper. These customization options will definitely add a few dollars to each box of checks ordered, but in some cases, the promotional advantage of the design more than makes up for it.
In The Nutshell
It is entirely possible to fulfill all of your small business payroll and accounting needs with a third party check printer. These checks are often cheaper than most banks, without sacrificing security. In fact, many of these printers, protect your company while reducing fraud. They offer highly customizable options including your personal logo. How much do business checks cost? Not as much as you might think.