The Cost of Issuing Checks (A Guide for Businesses)

Monitoring and controlling the cost of issuing business checks online is crucial for maintaining profit margins. Many businesses overlook the high cost of checks and fail to optimize their check-issuing practices, which can impact profits. Despite the digital age, checks remain a reliable payment method for suppliers, employees, and partners. Reducing check printing costs requires active changes but can significantly save money and offer a competitive advantage.

This article explores the cost of processing a paper check, check printing charges, and the effective management of check issuing costs to enhance a business’s bottom line. SmartPayables, a leader in check printing and mailing services, offers solutions like address cleansing, statement printing, ACH services, and a premier check mailing service for timely and problem-free document delivery.

Understanding the Total Cost of Check Printing

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the average cost of printing checks increased by about 50 percent for large businesses (since the year 2000). This figure is significantly higher than inflation and other business expenses.

It’s impossible to offer a precise answer to the question of “How much do checks cost,” since the cost of printing checks can vary considerably across all businesses. The average cost of printing and issuing checks is about $6, but the total range extends anywhere between $4 and $20 per check.

Using these figures, a business that issues ten thousand checks per year can potentially save $160,000 annually by deciding to outsource. Even large, Fortune 500 companies will still be highly motivated to make this change, considering how much money is possibly available.

If you’re wondering why checks are so expensive, it’s because printing requires specialized machinery and materials to accomplish a variety of secure features on the check. Also, the logistical challenges involved with shipping checks add to the cost. On top of that are the processing fees and various ACH expenses. All told, these costs quickly accrue, resulting in a sum your company may not be comfortable with.

Deciding to print checks in-house may seem like an alternative solution for printing cheap business checks, but many regret that decision.

The cost of a printer, from an accounting perspective, can be distributed across all checks being printed. However, because this is a hefty investment, many business owners choose to outsource their check printing needs to a firm that already has the infrastructure in place.

Strategies for Reducing the Cost of Check Printing

As suggested, making the decision to optimize check printing and issuing can save your business thousands of dollars (or even more) with each passing year. Furthermore, the extreme variation in check printing costs shows that wise check printing strategies can be extremely beneficial.

Some of the top ways to reduce the cost of issuing checks include:

  • Hiring a Professional Check Printing Firm: These firms can provide you with quality, personalized checks for significantly less than you’d be able to purchase on your own. Check printers often offer related services, including address cleansing, duplicate check monitoring, statement printing, and other components of payment processing.
  • Purchase Check Printing Materials in Bulk: By purchasing ink, envelopes, and stock paper in bulk, you will be able to decrease the total cost of printing paychecks. While we are a deal away from printing payroll checks online for free, these measures can greatly reduce the cost. Learn more about bulk check printing in this guide.
  • Negotiate with Banks: Contrary to what many assume, it’s possible to negotiate with your bank to lower or waive payment processing costs.
  • Develop a hybrid system: Unsurprisingly, many checks are now issued digitally. Digital checks can be complicated but can eliminate the material expenses, mailing costs, and the trips to the post office that come with issuing paper checks. Because of this, many business owners will make the decision to develop a hybrid system that uses both paper and digital check printing solutions. Your check printing partner can help you create a digital checking portal that makes it easy to track all payments. You may also be interested in using automated check printing software or check templates.

Each of these actions can help make the cost of issuing checks considerably more manageable. Employing multiple strategies at once will put your business in a position to succeed.

Finding the Right Check Printing Partner for Your Business

Clearly, one of the best ways to reduce the cost of check printing checks (and other payment processing functions) is to outsource and hire a firm that specializes in this area. Companies such as SmartPayables have the infrastructure to keep the marginal cost of issuing checks low without sacrificing quality. Because of the expertise these firms provide, the quality of the check (including personalized features such as your business’s logo and preferred fonts) usually increases.

With many different outsourced payment processing firms, knowing which one is right for you can be challenging. Conducting a preliminary interview and learning more about the check-issuing process can help you better understand what your experience with financial institutions might be like.

By clearly identifying your check printing outsourcing needs, creating a budget, and bundling multiple services together, you should be able to find the perfect fit. Look for a firm that is willing to answer your questions, has experience working with businesses similar to your own, and has the customer service experience to meet your needs. The best outsourced payment partners will happily explain the nuances of the process and put your business in a position to succeed.

Conclusion – Managing the Cost of Check Issuing

On average, printing and issuing a check will cost your business anywhere between $4 and $20. If your business’s current check-issuing practices are near the upper end of this range, you should look for ways to decrease this common expense.

By outsourcing and hiring a check printing expert, your business can gain the competitive advantage it has been looking for. While this represents just one change for your business, it is a change that is sure to have a lasting, positive impact. Outsourcing also allows you to focus on more pressing matters throughout your business day.

SmartPayables offers outsourced check printing, document and statement mailing, and much more. For more information about online check printing or to get a quote, contact our experts by calling (720) 287-0030 today.

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Founded in 2005, Smart Payables offers a full range of accounts payable payment solutions including outsourced check printing and mailing, document and statement printing and mailing, ACH direct deposits + more. Our highly experienced software developers and intelligent printing teams specialize in secure, enterprise-grade payment options that are HIPAA, SOC 1 Type 2, and ISO compliant. Our mission is to help businesses and large organizations implement secure, innovative technology that will reduce overhead and improve business operations and capabilities.

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