If you’re getting ready to order new checks you might be wondering should I get single or duplicate checks? It’s a good question, and you can save some money by ordering single checks, but is that the way to go?
Should I get Single or Duplicate Checks?
I have gone back and forth on whether to get single or duplicate checks every single time I order checks.
But before we get into what is the best option for you, let’s define what duplicate checks are for those who are unsure.
What Are Duplicate Checks
Simply put, a duplicate check provides a copy of every check you write.
When you write your check, there is a piece of paper behind it. This piece of paper is carbon paper. As you write, it imprints on this piece of paper a copy of what you have written.
It is a carbon copy of what you wrote on the original check.
When you remove the check you wrote, the carbon copy stays behind giving you a visual record of the checks you have written.
The Pros of Duplicate Checks
There are some advantages of a duplicate check.
Here are the most important…
1. They make keeping complete records easier – You will have a record of every check you wrote in the order you wrote them in.
You can keep these backup copies for as long as you would like.
If there is ever a question about a check you can quickly look through and find the duplicate check.
It will have all the information you need on it.
This is even more helpful as banks no longer return paper checks to their customers.
In the past, when you got your bank statement from your bank, it would also have enclosed with the statement all of the checks that had been processed for that month.
Banks no longer do this.
So, having a duplicate check will ensure you have all the information you may need.
2. You don’t need to go online to find information – In today’s world, most if not all of your banking information is online.
You can go to your bank account on your laptop or even your phone and find what you need.
Even so, with duplicate checks, you can also find that information offline.
It is like having the original check in front of you.
It can be convenient if you are dealing with an issue as you will have quick and easy access to records you may need.
3. They are super simple to use – The copy of your check is made automatically when you write your check.
There is nothing else for you to do.
And if you leave all of these carbon paper copies in your book of checks, then you have all the information in order that you might need.
The Cons of Duplicate Checks
There are some disadvantages of duplicate checks as well.
1. They cost more – Regardless of where you purchase your paper checks if you decide to go with duplicate checks you will pay more.
It won’t be a huge difference, but it could add $5 to $10 dollars or more to your check order.
But if you write a lot of checks that can add up.
You’ll need to decide if the added expense is worth it to you.
2. People don’t use checks as much as they used to – How often do you write a check?
For me, it is rare.
In the summer months, I do pay the guy that mows my lawn with a check each week.
Other than that, I might write a check once a month.
So, if you don’t use a lot of checks, it might not be worth the extra expense to pay for duplicate checks for your personal checks.
If you think about it, they are just extra pieces of paper that you have to keep track of.
Yes, they can help with record-keeping, but if you aren’t writing many checks then it can be overkill when you can just go online and look at your checks if you need to.
3. Someone could steal your information – When you have duplicate records laying around, it is possible someone could steal them.
It is much more difficult for someone to hack into your bank account and see your records than it is to just slip your duplicate checks into their coat pocket.
Having that physical record in your home can give the wrong person a good deal of your personal information.
Other Options Instead of Duplicate Checks
If you have decided that duplicate checks aren’t for you, there are other options to be able to access your information when you need to.
1. Use your phone – You can take a picture of the checks you write.
That way you will have easy access to them.
You just want to make sure you encrypt them or use some other security measure to keep them safe.
A password-protected file on your phone would do the job.
2. Take advantage of online banking – This is what I do. I just look at my checks on my banking app.
I used to always buy duplicate checks, but I never even looked at them.
Now, I just use my banking app.
It’s true that if I wanted to see a check I wrote six months ago, it would be more difficult to find than if I had a carbon copy, but that rarely happens.
You’ll need to decide what makes sense for your personal situation.
3. Use a check register – Check registers are always included when you purchase new checks.
Back in the day, this was the only way to keep track of your checks and other purchases as well as deposits.
It is how everyone would reconcile their bank account.
You just simply write down any check you wrote in the register.
If you are going this way, then it makes sense to write down your other withdrawals, debit card purchases, and deposits as well.
Then you can reconcile your register with your bank statement each month.
This is also a good way to keep from bouncing checks.
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How to Keep Your Checks Safe
If you have any banking information in your home, you need to do what you can to keep it safe.
This can include:
- Single checks
- Blank checks
- Single checkbooks
- Duplicate records
- Any other type of check
If possible, you should consider purchasing a small fireproof safe for your home.
That way you can keep all of your financial records, including checks, safe from those who might use your personal information as well as safe from fires and storms.
You can rest easy knowing your information is protected.
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To Sum it All Up:
If you write a lot of checks then having duplicate copies can make sense. If it is rare for you to write a check then the extra expense might not make sense. Decide if you can get the needed information from your online banking and if you are comfortable doing so. If you are, then single checks are the way to go and there is a wide variety for you to select from.