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October 16, 2008


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I find that the cheapest place to get checks made are Wal-Mart. $6-$7/box and I've never been charged over that. I've ordered a few times too. They have great designs as well!

There's a chance the company isn't making anything on the 'new customer' promotion. I order 2 boxes of checks from for $11.92 - no haggling necessary.

There's a chance the company isn't making anything on the 'new customer' promotion. I order 2 boxes of checks from for $11.92 - no haggling necessary.

There's a chance the company isn't making anything on the 'new customer' promotion. I order 2 boxes of checks from for $11.92 - no haggling necessary.

There's a chance the company isn't making anything on the 'new customer' promotion. I order 2 boxes of checks from for $11.92 - no haggling necessary.

Sorry for the dupes - was getting a server error.

I second the Wal-Mart recommendation. Great prices, decent selection, no gimmicks. After researching many of the different check companies, WMT had the best deal by far. If you look closely, I think you'll find that several of the different check companies are really the same company doing business under different names.

I work for a financial instituion. We use Harland Clarke. They do not sell your personal informaton, however those other companies do. They sell your name and address. That is how they can price the checks so cheap.

That's why I many times order checks through a different company each time.

I have to believe they make "some" money on the first time buyer, or else why would you do it? These companies have to know there are people like us out there that jump around and aren't loyal to one company. Or are there that many lazy people out there that just renew automatically?

$14 here and there does add up, especially on thousands of boxes of checks, which is why I understand their denial of your request. Based on your pre-emption of the "you're so cheap" comments, you realize there are enough people out there that will fall right into place with the business model this company is using (good deal (low profit) gets customers, their laziness results in high profits). They don't need to be bothered by cheap people like you and me that they can only make a marginal profit off of...not only did you take advantage of the good deal and then not become lazy, you also took up customer support time to cut & paste an email to you ;)

@Kevin M - there are that many lazy (or ignorant-take your choice) people out there, trust me on this. I think I know most of them. They look at me like I am crazy when I point out that they are overspending by doing this - and sadder yet, most of these people buy straight from the bank which costs about 4 times as much.

These are not stupid people; they just have a tinge of paranoia about buying anything - particularly something like checks - online or from a company they have not dealt with before. These are also the people who pay everything by check and think credit cards are evil.


I run into this with lots of businesses. It can be the cell phone company, internet service provider, department name it. They won't give me, the loyal repeat customer (that always pays the bill on time) the same deal as someone they've never dealt with before. It's like their business model states you can only make money on a customer once, so try to get rid of them after that.

What Strick said makes sense, but FMF's observation that it costs more to get a customer than to keep one is also very important. I don't get it, but I think it's proof that business people are just as likely to be incompetent as people that work for the government.

If you are a Costco member, you can order online from them for $10 and it doesn't matter if it's your first time or not.

Free checks from WAMU, not sure how that will change though. Checks last a long long time too.

I get free checks from my bank...USAA...they just charged a couple bucks s&h.
Ken, you are right, checks these days do last a long time. I only use about 24 checks a year.

My credit union gives me 1 box a year for free.

Ruth -

Those people who always pay by check you mentioned - I always get stuck behind them in the express lane at the grocery store. That is my #2 pet peeve of all time.


Many banks now offer free checks. Not sure what are in your area but they are out there.

Those checking accounts that offer free checks usually have either a monthly fee or require a minimum balance.

I used to work retail, and I kind of understand their point of view. They probably don't want to give you the discount because you'll ask for that same discount every time, and, as you say, $14 here and there adds up. It probably adds up faster for them than you because they probably have more than one person asking for the same thing.

Physical checks and a land line? Wow, this is really a throwback. I still have the starter checks from all the accounts. Even for the business, Quickbooks generates the checks.

If it were my business, I wouldn't give you the first-time customer price either. My guess that they're barely breaking even at the prices they're offering first-timers. They're obviously betting on repeat business, but reality is that the number of checks being handwritten by individuals is falling dramatically from year-to-year. I only write them when giving cash as wedding/baby gifts or for last-minute emergencies, otherwise my online banking takes care of the checkwriting.

I ordered 400 checks as a first-time customer from one of these places 10 years ago and have about 250 of them left, bearing my old address (I don't care, the recipients know where I live). I suspect much of their repeat business isn't from those who run out of checks, rather it's from those who move around a lot and want their current address on them who don't mind throwing away hundreds of perfectly good checks with the old address. It will probably take me 25 years to go through all of my remaining checks.

If the check company somehow knew you were writing hundreds of checks each year, I might see a case for giving you a bit of a break and then making up for it on volume. But more likely than not, if someone places an order for 400 checks in 2008, it will be years before their next order.

I was dealing with US Bank in the past & they surely charge more than the independent options. However, they had a nice clause - something like "... if your check gets rejected by our automatic scanning machine and the check is printed by other party (not their expensive option), we'll fine you $2 for manual processing ...". I had no clue how the quality of other check printer would be in contrast to their own, but I'm sure I would not be able to prove their fault in a court of law. Sucked it up & bought thru them, but it almost felt like blackmail. Anyone else faced something similar???

I never played the game when I ordered checks. After learning first-hand that you are tracked by your account number, I simply started collecting offers from the Sunday coupon packets and ordered from a brand-new company each time. I would usually order 500-1000 at a time, so my checks lasted for a while.

I work for a check printing company ( and I'm surprised that they wouldn't honor the price. We basically do whatever we can to get a reorder, because it costs us next to nothing to print checks for repeat customers. We don't do very much in the way of personal checks, since we specialize in business checks and deposit slips, but just as a point of comparison, a new order takes on average 4 minutes to process, 2 minutes to bill, and may require anywhere from 1 to 20 minutes in pre-press before getting batched and sent to the presses. A reorder takes on average 30 seconds to process, 2 minutes to bill, and 1 minute in pre-press. Everything after pre-press is the same until the customer receives it, where there is a 20% higher chance that there will be a problem with the checks and we'll have to reprint them if it is a first time order (90% of the time because the customer typed something wrong when placing the order.)

I can't fathom why they wouldn't even consider giving you some sort of a discount, even splitting the difference. We've often lost money just to make a customer happy even when the problem with their checks was their fault and not ours because we recognize that getting them to come back and to refer their friends and business acquaintances is going to bring us a lot more profit in the future.

@Param: My son and I both use US Bank, and I remember when they sent that notice. For anyone else who has felt pressured to reorder checks through them, I can tell you that I contacted Walmart check printing - and they guaranteed in writing that they would cover any fees if the checks did not process correctly. This was almost 3 years ago, and neither my son nor myself has had any problem yet with their checks.

I suspect that US Bank did this because of people who buy blank check stock and print the entire check on a standard inkjet or laser printer - that was getting to be popular about that time, and people did not realize that standard bank check readers require the numbers and characters at the bottom of the check to be printed with special magnetic ink to process in automated equipment.

Wow you guys use a lot of checks! The checks for one of my accounts have a nonexistent bank named on them, list an address from three houses ago, and I am now on check #149 (started at 100). I average 3 per year, and that average is decreasing. Unless I change banks or they change my account numbers, I should be good for decades.

For the other account, I never even bothered to get checks printed.

I'm with you. It drives me crazy that there's no reward for being a loyal customer. Oh well...don't use that many checks anymore anyway.

Clearly, that person didn't let a lawyer read that email. It's written in such a way as to leave open the possibility of collusion on the pricing versus just independent market results. FMF, maybe you've got an anti-trust lawsuit on your hands! ;-)

Someone in this world still actually writes paper checks? Wow, who knew!

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