In the last five years, I have moved four times. So, the next time I need to write a check — as rare as that is — my current address won’t align with the one on the check. Naturally, that got me wondering. So, after a little research, here’s what I learned.
Is it ok to use a check with an old address? Yes, you can use a check with an old address. As long as the check contains the proper account and routing number, banks will be able to withdraw funds from your checking account, and therefore consider it valid. That said, it is still best practice to write checks with an up-to-date address.
Simply put, if you want to be on the safe side, I would recommend ordering checks whenever you move your permanent address. However, if you find yourself in a pinch, and need to use a check with an old address, you can be confident that it will still work.
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How To Order New Checks
The easiest way to order new checks, is through your bank. Typically, you can order them online, but if it makes you more comfortable, you can just walk in and have a teller order them for you.
You can have the bank update your address, and anything else you need. Then, in my experience, the checks will arrive at your doorstep within 7-10 business days. Additionally, if mailing checks to your new address makes you uneasy, most banks will allow you to ship the checks directly to the bank. That way, you can just pick up your new checks there.
Pro Tip: When you go to order checks from your bank, you should ask if they will waive the cost of the new checks. Banks with good customer service will sometimes choose to do this as an added bonus for your long-term business. But, you will need to ask for it. My bank has done this twice for me, and it is a nice little treat.
3 Great Places To Order New Checks (Other Than Your Bank)
If I’m being honest, buying checks is a weird concept. I mean, you are spending money on something that you use to spend money. Anyway, they can be kind of pricey. So, if your bank doesn’t want to waive the cost of your new checks, you should know, there are a few other options.
In our research, ordering checks from Walmart Checks was the lowest price option. It makes sense, because that’s pretty much Walmart’s entire business model. Also, they offer the ability to order checks in smaller quantities, which is nice if you only write a few checks per year.
At the time of writing this, you can order a single pack of checks (150 checks) from Walmart Checks for around $8. This is our favorite option for ordering checks. I mean, you don’t want to spend all your money on checks. Otherwise, you won’t have any left over for anything else. right?
Checks In The Mail
From what we can see, Checks In The Mail is one of the main players in online check ordering. They have a great reputation online, and you have about a zillion options. We highly recommend “checking” them out if you need new checks. Bad Pun? Whatever, I liked it.
At the time of writing this article, you can order a pad of checks (25 checks) from Checks In The Mail for around $7. But, they also run a lot of sales, so if you need to order checks, I would suggest waiting until a holiday weekend when they are likely to run a promotion.
Bradford Exchange is another great option for ordering checks online. They have a wide selection, and offer great prices. Additionally, they run some pretty big holiday promotions. So you are likely to get a great deal on a box of checks if you wait until December to order new checks.
At the time of writing this, you can order a box of checks from Bradford Exchange for as low as $6.49 for a single box (100 checks).
Good Alternatives To Personal Checks
If using a check with an old address makes you nervous, and you don’t have time to wait for new checks in the mail, you have an alternative. You can go to your bank and get a money order, or cashier’s check.
Sometimes these two things are lumped together with the phrase “certified funds”. But basically, they are a check written from your bank that assure the payee the funds are available for withdrawal.
While this form of payment requires a trip to the bank, it might be preferable to ordering new checks, if you only write one or two checks per year. For example, when you move into a new apartment, they will often require your first month’s rent upon move-in. So, if that’s the only check you write all year, it would be silly to spend money on checks. Plus, often times, in those situations, they will require certified funds anyway, so a personal check won’t even be an option.
Do Old Checks Expire?
In the interest of financial security, and convenience, if a payee waits too long to deposit or cash it, it will expire. Typically, a personal check expires 6 months after it is written. However, this time period may vary depending on the payor, and especially in the case of government checks.
But this is only the case for written checks; which leads me to another question.
Do unwritten checks expire? No, as long as the account and routing number on a check remain associated with a valid checking account, unwritten checks will not expire. The only time it becomes possible for a check to expire, is when it is filled out with an issue date.
How To Dispose Of Old Checks
If you ever close your checking account, or decide that you want to get rid of checks with the wrong address, you might wonder how to properly dispose of them. And since checks have a rather sensitive connection to your financial well-being, it would be a bad notion to just throw them away.
So, should you just store them for the rest of your life? Should you burn them? Soak them in ink?
How do you dispose of old checks? The best method for disposing of old checks, is to shred them. Though, if you don’t have access to a shredder, you can instead, cut them up into small pieces with a pair of scissors. For added security, you should divide the shredded checks into different trash bags, and dispose of them on different days.
Now, if shredding your old checks still makes you nervous, you can try taking them to your bank, and asking them to dispose of your checks instead. Most banks will happily do this for you, as they will more-than-likely have a shredder on hand.
Do Checks Need An Address?
No, checks do not need an address. In fact, it is possible to order checks without an address on them. This can be a very useful tactic if you move a lot, and don’t want to re-order new checks every time you change your address. However, some people and merchants will require an address on your check, in which case, you can provide that to them directly.
How To Correct A Mistake On A Check
It’s inevitable that at some point when writing a check, you will make a mistake. Whether you write the date wrong, fill out the wrong amount, or mistakenly fill out the check to the wrong person or entity, it is possible to correct these mistakes.
All you have to do is draw a line through the mistake, write the correction to the right of the mistake, and then, sign your initials next to your correction. This lets the bank know that it was a mistake, and that you approve of the change.
Have you ever used a check with the wrong address? Or, have you ever had to correct a mistake on a check? Did you run into any problems?
Let us know in the comments. We love hearing from our reader!