Can You Get a Single Check from the Bank?

Although checks are less commonly used than they once were, there are certain instances where writing a check is the only option, or just the better option. You can get a checkbook from the bank by ordering checks at your bank or credit union. However, that might be overkill if you only need a single check, or just a few starter checks from your bank or credit union.

If you want the bank to issue a check on your behalf, you can get a cashier’s check, or bank check.

How To Get a Single Check from the Bank

Most banks and credit unions will print a small number of checks for their customers. Usually, these few checks are printed at the bank and come with a new account or loan as a way to provide access to the new account while a full order of printed checks is on the way. At several local credit unions, they print checks in quantities of four. This is an arbitrary amount that simply maximizes the blank check paper they print starter checks on.

To get a single check from the bank, you obviously must have a checking account, or other form of debit account with the bank. Typically, you can get free starter checks when you open an account, but you can also get additional free checks at the bank simply by asking. The best banks and credit unions will provide free checks whenever the need arises. So, if you are the kind of person who only needs a check twice a year when you chip in for the tennis banquet, or whatever, getting a set of four, six, or eight checks from the bank once every year or so can be a viable strategy.

Getting free single checks from your bank will generally require you to appear in person. The bank employees will check your identification and confirm your identity before issuing you a single check or packet of starter checks. Depending upon the size of the bank and the level of service offered, you may have to wait a few minutes before getting your checks.

How To Print a Single Check

It is a popular misconception that checks must be printed on a specific kind of paper like dollar bills are printed on a special paper. While most checks your bank or credit union are printed on paper that helps deter forgery and fraudulent checks, it is not a requirement. Technically speaking, you could simply print a check on regular copy paper. The person or organization accepting the check may choose to reject such a check, if it seems too “fake.”

a single check from your bank

To avoid people rejecting self-printed checks, most office supply stores and other paper suppliers offer blank check paper that includes the familiar weight and feel of commercially printed checks, as well as many of the security features such as watermarks, microtext, and security warnings. Some of the better-quality check papers include a VOID text when the check is copied. Printing your own checks may be easier than getting a single check from the bank.

You must ensure that any single checks you obtain, or print have the right numbers at the bottom, and that the check number does not overlap other checks you wrote or will write. If you subsequently obtain a book of checks that contains the same number as the single check you got from the credit union or bank, be sure to shred that check so that you don’t accidentally pay out a check with a used number.

Get a Single Check Online

Some financial institutions offer the ability to generate and send a check entirely online providing all the benefits of writing one check without ever having to order checks from your bank. For a more hands-on approach, you may offer checks from your bank. They will mail you your checks and charge you a fee for them.

You may prefer to order checks from a third party. They are often cheaper. Costo offers a wide array of check images for prices that are almost always lower than what your bank charges.

Online Bill Pay

You can skip checks altogether using online bill pay from your credit union, bank, or brokerage.

If you know the party relatively well, you can also use person to person payment apps such as Venmo, CashApp, or Zelle. However, remember that these apps are the equivalent of handing over cash. There is no way to stop payment on a Venmo transfer or Zelle payment, or the like.

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