As a business owner, you've probably had to write your share of checks. Or, if you're just starting your new business venture, you're probably wondering what type of checks you need. In either case, you have a variety of business checks to choose from.
But how do you choose the best business checks for your business? What makes one check better than another? And most importantly, do you need business checks at all?
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about business checks.
Business checks allow business owners to withdraw funds from their business checking accounts. Most often used to pay for bills or services, business checks allow for the easy disbursement of funds without a digital transfer. They make it easy for businesses to keep personal and business expenses separate while maintaining a detailed financial record.
Whereas personal checks have your name and address, business checks are specific to a business. When choosing your business checks, you'll find that there are many options. To determine which type of business check is best for you, you'll have to take a look at your business needs and compare them to what each check can offer.
The two types of business checks you'll find are laser checks and manual checks.
Laser or computer business checks have become the most common type for businesses that need to write checks often. They're ideal because they're printed directly from a computer and sync up to your accounting software. Syncing your checks and software allows you to easily monitor your electronic expenses, such as payroll and bills.
Another benefit to laser checks is that they're easy to read and look far more professional than handwritten checks. In addition, you'll print the checks on unique paper that includes all the enhanced safety features you'd want in a business check. In other words, you won't have to sacrifice safety for the convenience of self-printed checks.
Manual checks are likely what you think of when you hear the term "checkbook." A manual check is one that you write out manually. Instead of printing the check using your computer or accounting software, you'll fill in all of the necessary information and sign by hand, including payee information and amount.
Personal manual checkbooks are generally small and consist of one check per page. However, larger business checkbooks and binders exist for those who write a lot of checks or don't want to refill their checkbooks often. The most common is a 3-per-page model, where each page consists of three checks.
The difference between laser and manual checks is significant. If you want to make an informed decision about which type of check will work best for you, take a look at the breakdown between the two most popular check types.
The most popular type of business check is the laser check. Laser checks are printed directly from your computer, allowing easy access to on-demand printing and enhanced security. You'll have several options if you choose to go with laser checks for your business. Specifically, you'll be able to choose from:
QuickBooks compatible checks
Laser voucher checks
Laser wallet checks
QuickBooks has made business accounting a simple process for business owners. To make things simpler, check manufacturers offer QuickBooks-compatible laser business checks. These checks are an excellent choice if your business relies on or might switch to QuickBooks accounting software.
QuickBooks compatible checks offer a plethora of exclusive security features to help you avoid payment fraud. QuickBooks' Basic Voucher Check is a standard check with minimal security features. However, if you want enhanced security, you can choose Secure Plus or Secure Premium checks.
Each of QuickBooks' business checks offers more than twenty enhanced security features, including the following:
Exclusive security coating using ink microcapsules
Authentic watermarks to prevent photocopying or scanning
Chemically-reactive paper that deters alteration attempts
Tamper-resistant toner area around payee and amount lines
Exclusive check stock with proprietary features
A laser voucher check is a printed check that has a voucher attached. The payee can detach the voucher before depositing their check to keep a record of your payment. The voucher provides detailed information about the payment, including taxes, fees, and hours worked.
The payee's voucher is separate from the stub you'll keep for your records. Similar to a carbon copy on a manual check, the stub you'll keep provides a printed document of the payment, including the date you paid. Voucher checks are ideal for both parties due to the level of transparency they provide.
Laser wallet checks look just like your standard commercial laser check. However, instead of the 8-inch width that you get with commercial checks, laser wallet checks are the size of personal checks. In addition, they don't have a voucher attached that shows a breakdown of each payment, making them ideal for paying pills or other invoices.
Laser wallet checks typically come with three checks per page. Each check has a small stub that allows you to record the transaction for your own accounting purposes. To make keeping track of your finances more manageable, you can purchase laser wallet checks that are compatible with QuickBooks and other types of accounting software.
However, not all check printers offer QuickBooks-compatible laser wallet checks, so be sure to double-check the product before purchasing.
Manual checks require business owners to write out payment information by hand. They're convenient and make writing the occasional check simple. You can find manual checks in a few formats, including
Manual cash disbursement checks
Manual deskbook checks
Manual voucher checks
Manual travel checks
Manual cash disbursement checks are ideal for someone who wants to keep a detailed, handwritten record of payments on paper. Whereas laser checks allow you to save check transactions to your computer, manual cash disbursement checks include a stub where you fill in your information.
You'll typically find manual cash disbursement checks in a binder with three checks per page. To the side of each check is a stub where you'll write the payee's name, check amount, and other information.
Deskbook checks are similar to personal checks in that they don't have stubs and come with a register. They're essentially a larger version of a personal checkbook. So, if you prefer to fill out a check register as opposed to writing stubs, deskbook checks are what you need.
You can purchase ring-bound, adhesive-bound, or compact versions of deskbook checks. Standard deskbook checks are typically eight inches by three inches, whereas compact deskbook checks are the size of personal checks. The main difference is that they come with multiple checks per page.
If you need to keep your payroll system with you at all times, manual voucher checks will be your best bet. Manual voucher checks provide an easy way to make payments on the go that you can include with a detailed voucher. In addition, manual checks are the best way to maintain a clear record of your payments if you prefer handwritten records.
Manual voucher checks allow you to outline detailed payment information without a computer. You can factor in things like vendor discounts, instructions, and details about what the payment is for. You can clearly lay out everything on these checks, making it easy for payees to make the correct payment.
Travel business checks are checks designed for traveling business owners. They're smaller versions of your standard business check but come in a one-per-page format that makes it easy to carry your checkbook with you. Most travel business checks come in end-bound format, where the shorter edge of the check is bound.
Travel checks are a must if you need to make payments in your business' name while on the road. They come with a carbon copy, so you don't have to fill out stubs. You'll also get a checkbook and register to maintain your records appropriately.
You'll also need to pick a format when choosing your check type. The two standard formats for business checks are blank checks and pre-printed checks.
Blank check stock leaves all the printed information on your check to your discretion. When ordering blank checks, you'll receive high security blank check paper with all the required security features. However, you'll need to fill in your payee and business information, including account numbers, check numbers, etc.
Maintaining a blank check stock is ideal if you want total control over what your checks look like. Fortunately, you don't have limitations with blank laser checks. You can purchase blank checks for QuickBooks just as easily as printed checks.
Pre-printed checks already have all of your information printed on the check. All you'll need to do is fill in the payee's information, including name, payment amount, and the date. These checks are compatible with all the most common accounting software, including QuickBooks and Peachtree.
If you know you'll have the same business information for the foreseeable future, pre-printed checks are an easy choice. Similarly, if you want to minimize ink use and avoid typos, pre-printed checks will make it easy. Simply feed paper in and fill in the necessary payment information. Within moments, you'll have printed checks at the ready.
Laser and manual business checks come in a variety of formats. You can opt for various check placements, different numbers of checks per page, and a variety of bindings. The option you choose will depend on how many checks you need, the type of binding you want, and what information you'll include on each check.
Voucher checks are the most common type of business check for business owners who use physical checks to pay staff. Even if you pay your team via direct deposit, you probably provide a physical voucher, too.
Voucher checks come in three formats:
Top of page
Middle of page
Bottom of page
Top-of-page voucher checks have the check at the top of the check page with all payment information below. Sometimes, you'll find the payment voucher in the middle and bottom sections of the page. In others, you might only see your voucher on one of those sections. In either case, the check will be at the top of the page with perforations to cleanly tear it off.
Middle of the page checks means that the check gets printed in the center third of a page. Typically, detailed payment information will appear in the top section, where you can easily separate the check from the voucher.
Bottom-of-page checks are the opposite of top-of-page checks. Your check will appear on the bottom of the page, while your voucher or vouchers will print on the top two-thirds. Of course, you'll have perforations to ensure an easy tear.
Three-per-page checks provide three checks on a single sheet. Typically, the paper is a standard 8.5"x11" sheet, with each business check measuring eight inches by three inches. However, wallet business checks have the same proportions as personal checks. Three-per-page checks typically have vouchers, stubs, or a register.
Ring-bound checks come in a multi-ring binder. A ring binder makes it easy to refill your checks when you run out. Most include a stub that you'll fill out when you write your check. Although you can print your ring-bound checks, you'll usually fill them out by hand.
Adhesive-bound checks are a checkbook that gets bound with adhesive. If you have a personal checkbook, you're likely familiar with adhesive-bound checks. You can find wallet business checks and standard business checks in adhesive-bound formats. As with ring-bound checks, you'll fill these out by hand.
The security features of your business checks may be the most crucial feature. Ensuring your checks can't be photocopied, faked, or forged is essential in keeping your finances and business safe.
Fortunately, check manufacturers provide a variety of standard and enhanced safety features for business checks. So when you choose your checks, whether they're blank check stock or pre-printed, you can select from two options: standard security checks and enhanced security checks.
You can choose standard security checks if you want to save a bit of money but don't want to sacrifice security. They offer all the basic security features but without the bells and whistles of enhanced security checks.
Microprinting is a popular security feature on personal and business checks, currency, and official government documents. Borders and other symbols get printed using minute details that are hardly visible to the naked eye.
Microprinted features make it easier to determine a document's legitimacy. That's because microprinted features are nearly impossible to reproduce, even with powerful scanners or high-quality printers. On checks, you'll find micro-printed borders, signature lines, and other elements that vary by manufacturer.
A pantograph is a standard security feature that helps protect against photocopying or check tampering. Pantographs are designs printed onto a check that appear invisible to the naked eye but are evident on a photocopy or scan.
The two main types of pantographs are void and screened pantographs. Void pantographs appear when a check is copied and usually say "VOID" or "COPY." Screened colored pantographs will show a business's name, logo, or other information.
A warning band on a check acts as an "FYI" for anyone who wants to ensure their check is legitimate. It indicates that the check has multiple security features in place to prevent falsification or other types of tampering.
You'll typically find the warning band on the border of a check. It allows the payee to determine whether their check is the real thing. At a minimum, you'll find common standard security features on a check with a warning band.
The back of a check requires just as much security as the front. Some manufacturers use endorsement backers to ensure each check is tamper-proof. Screened endorsement backers are essentially a pantograph for the endorsement area of a check.
When photocopied or scanned, the endorsement backer will appear. It might say "VOID" or "original document" to show that the scanned version isn't the real thing.
Enhanced security checks offer many of the same features as standard security checks. However, you'll also get more advanced technologies that protect your checks and finances more thoroughly.
TouchSafe features on checks are heat-sensitive areas that show an authenticity message when heated. Simply breathe on or hold your finger to a designated spot, and the word "valid" will appear. It's impossible to replicate this feature using a scanner or standard printer, making it one of the best security features your checks can have.
TouchSafe is one of the most challenging features to counterfeit on a business check. You can purchase pre-printed blank check stock with the TouchSafe option, making it easy to add an extra layer of security to your laser checks. It's also laser-compatible, so you can use it with your current check printer.
Most security features on business checks consist of markings on paper using special inks or technologies. However, SafeImage security paper allows your entire check to remain safe and tamper-proof. SafeImage security paper uses several features, including
Chemical inclusion protection
Red and blue fibers
Toner fuse adhesion
Only business owners with approved printers and facilities can use SafeImage paper. If you're in an approved facility and need high-security blank check paper or pre-printed checks, SafeImage paper is an excellent choice. It's also ideal if you print a lot of checks for large amounts of money.
Similar to micro printing, high-resolution borders use intricately laced designs to deter copying or counterfeiting. These areas have designs that are too detailed to replicate on standard printers or copiers.
High-resolution borders provide an added layer of security in addition to microprinting. Where alphanumeric microprinting is just a mix of letters and numbers, high-resolution borders use a pattern you can't replicate.
As mentioned above, some checks incorporate a mix of fibers to ensure checks can't get copied or scanned. The most common fibers you'll come across are red and blue, similar to what you'd find in certain currencies. Fluorescent fibers are also becoming increasingly more common.
The red and blue fibers are pretty easy to spot. However, the fluorescent fibers are only visible under UV light. Since they require special lighting, it's impossible to photocopy them. Check manufacturers incorporate a mix of small details and larger images using these fibers to provide various safety features.
ImageSecure is a feature that allows a payee to verify a check's authenticity without using a secondary device. Checks that use ImageSecure offer several features that enhance your business check's security.
ImageSecure checks stand up to low-resolution scans, show a clear warning if photocopied, and have pixel variations unique to ImageSecure technology. Since ImageSecure features don't require a particular light or camera to view, payees can quickly determine whether their check is valid on the go.
With the plethora of business check options available, choosing the right one for your business can be tricky. You must consider several features and determine which suits your business needs best. If you need some help figuring out what you need, here are a few questions to ask.
Payroll is one of an employer's most significant expenses. Most employers will pay anywhere from 15% to 50% of their gross revenue toward payroll. As a result, some employers will opt to do their payroll in-house instead of outsourcing to save money. Keeping payroll is a wise decision for smaller businesses, but only if you're up for maintaining your accounting records.
If you do your payroll in-house, you should invest in the highest-security laser business checks you can budget for. Go for the best micro printing, high-quality security paper, and other fail-safes that protect against anything nefarious. Laser-printed checks also make it easy to print your checks and skip handwriting each one.
Some business owners have multiple business checking accounts. When choosing between check types, you should consider how many of those accounts you'll print checks for. This type of consideration is crucial for business owners trying to decide if they want manual or laser checks.
Manual checks are acceptable if you're writing from one account infrequently. However, if you have multiple accounts, laser-printed checks might be best to avoid handwriting each check and record. Laser-printed checks will also make it easy to distribute funds quickly.
Printing your own checks comes with several expenses, including special paper, software, and a printer. So, you should ask yourself, how often will you write checks? Depending on how frequently you need to write a check, investing in the appropriate materials might not be cost-effective.
For example, printing your own checks might be cheaper than outsourcing to a payroll service if you do your own payroll. Or, if you're looking to cut expenses, switching from outsourced to in-house payroll will require you to write more checks. On the other hand, if you only write an occasional business check, manual pre-printed checks might be sufficient.
Manual business checks offer a specific benefit that laser checks don't: portability. Many business owners choose manual checks because they make it easy to write checks on the go.
On the other hand, laser checks make it easy to print out checks quickly and in bulk. If most of your check-writing happens in the office, laser checks will probably be easier to manage than manual ones.
Security features are some of the most vital elements of your business checks. Whether you're ordering blank checks or purchasing a stock of pre-printed checks, you'll need to ensure you have the best security features possible. The most secure checks will do all of the following and more:
Block tampering or bleaching
Prevent photocopying and scanning
However, enhanced security checks like those mentioned above typically cost more than standard security checks. So you'll have to decide which options work best for you and which you can forego.
For example, if you only write checks once in a while, standard security checks will be fine. On the other hand, if you write checks in bulk, enhanced security features will ensure no one who has a copy of your checks can duplicate them.
The more checks you write, the higher the likelihood someone might try to replicate them. In that case, enhanced security checks will probably be worth the cost.
Your business type is another factor to consider when choosing your business checks. When it comes to businesses with paid staff or frequent expenses, pricier and more robust checks might make the most sense. However, that's not the case for everyone.
For example, having business checks on hand is a sound idea if you're a freelancer or a private contractor. However, you won't have the same needs as a larger business owner. So, pre-printed wallet-sized business checks will likely be more than enough.
There's a lot to know and understand about business checks. Fortunately, plenty of information exists to help you choose the right features. However, if you still have questions about which checks are for you, here are the answers to a few common inquiries business owners have.
The simple answer is yes; you should have business checks as a business owner. Although it might be tempting to write a personal check now and then, it's unwise. You'll need an accurate record of your expenses for taxes and accounting purposes. A business checking account is the best way to maintain a clear transaction record.
Business checks and personal checks perform the same function. However, the main difference is that a business check gets written from a business checking account. The account will have the name of your business, making it easy to differentiate personal from business expenses. Business checks are the best choice if you're paying bills or staff.
Although you can use a personal check to pay a business expense, you shouldn't. Keeping your personal and business accounts separate makes it easy to organize your finances throughout the year. If you write personal checks for business expenses, you might run into difficulty when tax time comes or if you need to find a specific transaction.
You can only order checks with your business name if you have a business checking account. Checks with your business' name emblazoned on them allow payees to quickly identify who's paying them. Fortunately, setting up a business checking account doesn't take much time. Once you get set up, you'll be able to write out checks easily.
Fraud associated with pre-printed check stock can be a struggle for some business owners. To alleviate some of that concern, you should keep blank check stock on hand so you can laser print your own checks. If you're the only person printing checks for your business, it'll be easy to identify fraudulent checks.
Choosing the right business check can be difficult, especially if you're not sure what feature you'll need. However, the best business check for your business will make it easier to maintain payroll, pay bills, and keep track of your finances. Fortunately, whether you require pre-printed checks or blank check stock, you have plenty of options to choose from at BlankCheck.