Many checking accounts come with a starting set of free checks, usually containing 100 to 150 checks, upon opening. But once those run out, you’ll need to buy more.

Ordering checks from the bank can be expensive; some banks may charge $30 or more for a set of checks. Meanwhile, getting your checks online from a third party is often a much cheaper alternative. Plus, there are generally more options for customizing checks when you order them online. Here are the steps to do so.

Key takeaways

  • Ordering checks online from third-party retailers is often a cheaper alternative to getting them from your bank.
  • When choosing a check design, you can personalize it by selecting from a variety of options, including cause-related designs and the option to upload a custom image.
  • While it is legal to print your own checks, they must adhere to certain rules and guidelines set by banking regulations and may lack important security features.

1. Find a check printer

Many large retailers with online stores print checks to order. The cost of checks from each store varies depending on several factors, including how many checks come in one box, whether the checks are single or duplicate and what extra features you select.

Still, if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to your bank, here are some places that print checks and how much it costs for a single box of basic, single checks.

Store Number of checks per box Cost of one box
*This is the price available to Costco Gold Star Members.

Note: Prices shown are as of Jan. 23, 2024. 80 $5.95
Bradford Exchange 100 $6.99
Sam’s Club 240 $8.69
Walmart 120 $9.81
Costco 125 $10.11*
Carousel Checks 100 $10.99
Vista Print 150 $15
Checks in the Mail 100 $22.99

Can you print your own checks?

Printing your own checks is legal, but it’s important that the self-printed checks adhere to rules and guidelines set forth by banking regulations. Most financial institutions provide specific instructions on the permissible formats and standards for printing checks.

In addition to the risk that banks might reject them, self-printed checks may lack certain security features that professional printing services or banks provide. Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) coding, for example, is a standard feature on checks to facilitate electronic processing, requiring a special printer.

(Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write a check.)

2. Choose a check design

One of the benefits of ordering checks through a third party is getting to personalize your checks by choosing among hundreds of designs. Checks may come with basic, single-color designs or have images printed onto them. If ordering checks for multiple accounts, it may be helpful to select different designs for each account to easily distinguish between them.

Walmart even offers a set of cause-related designs for checks. These checks come with designs that help support specific causes, such as one design with kittens on it that contributes 9 percent of its purchase price to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Some retailers, like, allow you to upload a custom image to be printed on the checks. This upgraded option is likely to cost much more than other standard options, though.

3. Select custom features and quantity

Checks you can order online are often much more customizable than checks provided by a bank. After selecting a design, you’ll be prompted to make selections for the number of checks, the style of the checks and any added features.

The most common elements to consider when customizing your check order are:

  • Quantity: A single box order of checks usually comes with 100 to 150 checks, though some retailers, like Sam’s Club, provide a lot more checks in a box. There may be a discounted price for ordering several boxes at once.
  • Single vs. duplicate: Most retailers will give you the option to choose single or duplicate checks. Duplicates come at a slightly higher price and include carbon copy paper under each check, so that you can easily keep a record of every written check.
  • Added security: While many checks come with basic protections, you may have the option to add on boosted fraud and identity theft protection from services like CheckSafe or FraudArmor. These protections may include advancements to cover stolen funds, identity theft restoration resources and check replacements.
  • Font and logo: These are two purely aesthetic features that you may have the option to customize. Make sure to choose a font that’s easily legible.

4. Enter personal and account information

The most important step is entering your personal and account information accurately, as this will be printed on all of the checks and used to identify where to withdraw funds from. If any of the information is incorrect, it could result in bounced checks and having to reorder a whole new set of checks.

You can enter information by copying it from an old check or a temporary check for a new account. The relevant bank account information can also be found on the account page of an online account or by calling a bank representative.

The information you’ll need includes the following:

  • Bank routing number
  • The account number
  • Starting check number (this can be any number you choose)
  • The financial institution’s name
  • Your address

Once you’ve filled in all of the necessary personal information and double-checked its accuracy, you’re set to place the order for the checks.

(Here’s a look at Bankrate’s list of the best online checking accounts.)