Monday, September 13, 2010

The Top Three Myths about Buying Checks Online

American Reflections Personal Checks

Many bank customers are looking for innovative ways to save money on banking. After all, no business is better at nickel-and-diming its customers to death than the bank.

Closing one's account in favor of hiding money under the mattress is never a viable money-saving option. Instead, bank customers should look to other ways to save on those pesky fees. Buying cheap checks online is one effective way to beat the bank.

Personal checks tend to be significantly cheaper when purchased from an online retailer. Unlike the financial institution, which offers multiple services, cheap check retailers only sell checks. They are able to buy blanks in large quantities and stock them on site.

Banks don't have this capacity. Online retailers are able to pass some of their wholesale savings onto customers this way.

The banking public is sometimes wary, though, of purchasing cheap checks online. The notion has a certain stigma attached to it that is unwarranted. The biggest questions tend to lie around the security and acceptability of cheap checks purchased outside of one's local financial institution.

Three of the most common myths include:

1) Cheap Checks ordered from sources outside the bank won't be accepted as legal tender. This is the number one reason customers avoid purchasing from other sources. Banks like this myth because it drives more business their way. However, it's simply a myth.

Legally, any piece of paper can serve as legal tender as long as it contains the correct information. (It's unadvisable to try to use a home-made version, though.) As long as the document contains the right information, it's legal. The required information includes the account holder's name, branch and account number.

The information must be printed in a manner that can be scanned and read by banking computers. In order to do this, you must obtain a MICR Specification Sheet from your bank.

They are obligated to provide this to you upon request. It contains the information that allows your retailer to print the correct information which can be read by banking computers.

2) Ordering outside the bank means they will be less secure. This is another popular myth, and is related to the first one described above.

Remember, the bank is only a retailer. They don't actually print their own checks. They simply contract them out to a printer who must print them according to legal specifications.

Ordering cheap checks online merely cuts out the expensive middle man (the financial institution). The customer saves the fee that the financial institution would have charged by going directly to the source.

Those online sources print their checks to the same legal specifications as the printers that the banks use. They are, therefore, completely secure.

3) You can't order business checks online. This is another myth; one that keeps a financial institution's more lucrative business customers captive to its fees.

Actually, both the personal and business variety may be bought online. The process for ordering the business style is the same as for personal ones.

In fact, business owners can purchase a variety of business documents through an online retailer, including payroll, accounts payable and multi-purpose cheap checks.

Cheap checks are only cheap because they cost less. In reality, they are no less legal or acceptable than the ones available through the bank.

In most cases, customers have a much greater design selection to choose from. Additionally, they may be able to include more information (even a business logo) on checks purchased through an online retailer.

Learn how to save money with personal checks and business checks here.

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