With the advent of debit cards, money transfer apps and online shopping, checks might seem like relics of the past.
But many small businesses still operate with checks, and individuals might need personal checks for rent or utilities (or an easy — if not quaint — birthday present for a niece or nephew).
Your bank or credit union will usually give you a free starter pack of checks when you open an account, but what happens when you run out? You can order more checks from your bank, but this is usually the most expensive option.
As a more affordable alternative, you can order checks online from a reputable company. These are cheaper than bank checks and often offer more fun customization, like landscapes, animals, sports teams and even cartoon characters.
What Is the Best Place to Order Checks Online?
Bank checks are expensive, so where do you turn when you run out of the free checks provided upon account creation? We’ve rounded up six of the best places to order checks online — and included some honorable mentions worthy of consideration too.
1. Best Overall: Walmart Checks
Without question, Walmart is the best place to order checks. Walmart Checks offers a huge selection of personal and business checks at some of the most affordable prices.
Walmart offers free standard shipping for its checks, and you can expect to receive them within 12 business days. The ordering process on Walmart’s website is very straightforward.
The most affordable selection of checks from Walmart is a box of 150 checks for $7.96, or roughly 5 cents per check.
To save money, go with basic check options, but for a pop of personality, you can browse checks with landscapes, nature, animals, dog breeds and even your favorite characters. The movie Encanto is one of the trending options these days.
You can choose between single and duplicate checks and find options with multiple security features.
Even cooler, you can customize your own checks by uploading a business logo or even your own personal photo, perhaps of your children or pets.
2. Best Price: Super Value Checks
If you’re looking for cheap checks, Super Value Checks is your best bet. According to the website, you can save 50% to 75% compared to bank check prices. And at 3 cents per check (based on a 60-check box at just $1.95), Super Value Checks is certainly the best place to order checks if you’re looking to save money.
A caveat, however: All the other companies on our list offer an option for free shipping, but Super Value Checks’ most basic, standard shipping option still costs $3.25 (and that’s for 10 to 14 business days). Even with this added expense, we find Super Value Checks to be the best price.
And just because you’re going the cheap route doesn’t mean you’re stuck with basic designs; you can choose from over 200 designs with Super Value Checks, including single and duplicate checks. Just be careful; the more intricate the designs or security features, the higher that price will climb.
3. Best Security: Costco Checks
Let’s address the elephant in the room: Costco Checks is for members only. If you aren’t a member, keep scrolling.
If you are a member, however, you can enjoy great prices on checks thanks to Costco’s partnership with Harland Clarke. Because it’s Costco, you’ll have to buy in bulk; the smallest box comes with 200 checks.
Whether for business checks or personal checks, you’ll find the best security features through Costco. Costco boasts more than 25 security features on its high-security checks, including heat-sensitive ink, holograms, watermarks and visible and invisible fluorescent fibers.
Hoping to keep costs down? The cheapest route is a 200-count box of basic checks for $18.14, or roughly 9 cents per check. (Executive Members get 20% off.
Shipping is free (and trackable) and takes 9 to 12 business days.
4. Best for Discounts and Deals: Checks in the Mail
Cleverly named (though perhaps lost on modern society), Checks in the Mail is one of the top companies in the industry, selling more than a billion checks each year throughout the U.S.
While Checks in the Mail isn’t the most affordable (you can get a box of 100 single checks for $23.25, or 24 cents a check), you can almost always find a discount on the site.
At time of publishing, we stumbled upon a 20% discount on business checks, a “just because” 20% discount on personal checks and a new customer discount: $6.49 per pack plus free shipping.
Checks in the Mail has more than 200 check styles, including Disney and Peanuts characters, patriotic and religious, dogs and other animals and high security options. As with all the options on this list, you can choose between single and duplicate checks.
Standard shipping is free and takes 14 business days.
5. Best Quality: Bradford Exchange Checks
You get what you pay for. Bradford Exchange may have some of the most expensive checks on this list ($19.95 for a box of 100, or 20 cents per check), the company is also known for outstanding customer service.
For many, the high quality of Bradford Exchange checks makes them the best place to buy checks online. The artwork, whether characters or landscapes, far outshines what you’ll find on the cheap checks at Super Value Checks.
Free shipping through Bradford Exchange takes 12 to 15 business days.
6. Best Selection: Check Advantage
If you thought choosing from 200+ check designs was overwhelming, stay far away from Check Advantage, which offers more than 2,500 check designs.
Check Advantage pricing falls squarely in the middle at roughly 10 cents per check for the most affordable option (a box of 150 single checks at $15.38), but it’s the on-time guarantee (printed and shipped within three business days) and super wide selection that make Check Advantage a standout.
Shipping is free and takes 11 to 15 business days.
Although these four check companies did not make the final cut, we thought they were worth a shout-out, as they might make sense for select buyers:
Checks.com: Though not the best in any category, Checks.com is good for low prices and a decent selection.
Sam’s Club Checks: If you are comfortable buying in bulk (480 checks at a minimum), Sam’s Club Checks is great for saving money.
Checks Unlimited: Checks Unlimited is good for specialty checks, including Warner Bros. cartoons.
Carousel Checks: Carousel Checks is one of the best value check printers around, with low prices and decent quality for the money.
Cost of Ordering Checks Online
In the table below, we’ve analyzed our top six check printers, along with our honorable mentions, to see which is the cheapest. For each, we looked at the most basic, single checks in the smallest quantities offered.
Shipping costs are not included. Super Value Checks is the only option without free standard shipping.
Online Check Costs at a Glance
Ordering Checks Online: The Basics
When ordering checks online, you’ll be presented with an overwhelming amount of options. Make sure you understand these basics before browsing online:
Single Checks vs. Duplicate Checks
Duplicate checks make it easier to track all the checks you write. When you write a check using a duplicate checkbook, you’ll tear out the actual check, leaving behind a carbon copy with all the relevant information: payee, amount and date.
With duplicate checks, you can go back and reference this information if there is a discrepancy in your recordkeeping.
Single checks do not contain the carbon copy. Checkbooks with only single checks are more affordable, but you’ll have to be more diligent about balancing your checkbook and ensuring checks you write are cashed or deposited by the recipient.
Basic Checks vs. High Security Checks
All checks come with some level of security, including the magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) font. Look at your routing number and account number on a blank check; it’ll be in the bottom left hand corner.
The font allows machines to read and process checks, but it also works as an anti-counterfeit measure.
At a minimum, ensure the online check printer is certified with the Check Payment Systems Association (CPSA), which ensures checks meet standard requirements for security.
However, you can pay extra for high security checks. Enhanced safety features actively discourage fraud attempts and give users more protection than a basic check.
Some of those security features include high-resolution borders, chemically sensitive paper, visible and invisible fluorescent fibers, complex color patterns, foil holograms, heat-sensitive ink and anti-copy technology.
Some checks may come standard with EZShield Check Fraud Protection, but more often than not, this is an add-on service at checkout. EZShield specifically protects customers against identity theft related to check writing.
How to Order Checks Online
If you’ve run out of the free checks your bank offered at account creation — and they don’t offer more when you run out — you’ll want to order checks from a third party to reduce costs. Here’s how:
1. Pick a Check Printer
What you consider to be the best place to buy checks may be different for others. Use a comparison resource (like this one!) to narrow down your choices and pick the option that best meets your needs.
In addition to making sure a check company is certified by the CPSA, check their Better Business Bureau accreditation. Avoid companies with poor ratings.
Did you know this? It is totally legal to print your own checks at home. You just need to purchase the right kind of software, printer and paper
2. Choose a Check Type and Design
Choose between single and duplicate checks, and decide what level of security features you would like. For the best prices, you can go the most basic route, but if you’d like to express a bit of personality with your checks, browse options for your favorite cartoon characters, animals, sports teams or landmarks.
3. Choose Any Accessories
When you’re online ordering checks, you can typically add accessories to your order. Determine if you will need deposit tickets, extra check registers or a new checkbook cover.
These are not required for purchase; checkbook covers, for example, can just be reused each time you start a new pack of checks.
4. Enter Your Bank Info
To order checks online, you will need to know your checking account number and bank routing number. You will also need to add personal contact info, like name, address and phone number, to your check when personalizing. Your checks should also include bank info (name, address and phone number as well).
Don’t forget to set the check number. For example, if your first checkbook ended at check number 40, it’s wise to have your next box of checks begin at 41. This makes record-keeping much easier on your end.
5. Choose a Shipping Method
Unless you need your checks as soon as possible, find the free shipping option. In general, expect checks to take two to three weeks to deliver.
If the company allows you to opt in to free tracking, select this option.
6. Review Your Checks
When your checks arrive, review them carefully. Make sure that your name and contact info are correct, as well as the bank account number and bank routing number.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Where to Buy Checks
We’ve rounded up the answers to the most common questions about where to buy checks online.
How Can I Get Free Checks?
When you open a new bank account, most banks will provide you with free checks. When they run out, however, you will likely have to pay for a new set. You can purchase these directly from your bank, but for lower prices, you buy checks online.
How Much Does It Cost to Order Checks?
The cost of checks varies. The cost goes up, for example, if you opt for duplicate checks, extensive security features or special designs. In general, it costs from 3 to 25 cents per check. Shipping is typically free.
Where is the Cheapest Place to Buy Checks?
Overall, Walmart Checks is the best place to order checks online for their combination of low prices, great selection and fast (and free) shipping.
If you’re a member and don’t mind buying in bulk, Sam’s Club Checks are among the cheapest. But if you’re ordering a more modest amount, you’ll get the cheapest checks at Super Value Checks, though be prepared to pay shipping.
Contributor Timothy Moore is a writer and editor in Cincinnati, Ohio. He focuses on banks, loans and insurance for The Penny Hoarder. His work has been featured on Debt.com, The Ladders, Glassdoor, WDW Magazine, Angi and The News Wheel.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.