I know this is a Canadian personal finance blog geared towards millennials, and I know millennials don’t really use personal cheques in Canada anymore. I’m a bit archaic when it comes to technology (I record all my net worth updates in a notebook and not the computer) and cheques is lumped in with this. I still love using cheques!!
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I like everything about cheques and chequebooks, including the transaction page where you can record what you wrote cheques for. I like signing my name and writing the date on the cheque and I like writing the numbers and words of the amount on the cheque.
There’s something very civilized about writing a cheque.
It makes me feel elegant and fancy even when I’ve got my hair in a messy mom bun. Even my preschooler’s books teach him to write pretend cheques in order to manage money better.
I also like to have cheques on hand, just in case. I also use a cheque once a month to deposit money into our joint account since that’s how my husband and I split our finances.
Some people still need business cheques, some people need personal cheques to do post dated cheques for their landlords, some people just like having cheques on hand. Whatever your reason, I feel your pain when you see how much you have to pay for more personal cheques from your big Canadian bank.
I bought 100 cheques a few years ago and it had lasted me until this year. Since I ran out, I didn’t want to pay another $50 for 50 cheques anymore, so I got to researching the alternatives available for personal cheques.
Normally, when you place an order for personalized cheques, all the big banks in Canada order cheques take your order for cheques and get it printed from the same company.
This company is called Davis & Henderson. All the big banks outsource their cheque creation to this company.
The big banks (RBC, TD, Scotiabank, BMO, CIBC) all charge you something like $50 for 50 cheques.
Seem high? Yeah I thought so too.
Here are some alternatives on personal cheques in Canada to consider.
One alternative to cheques is to use an Interac e-Transfer. Everyone else uses e transfers these days. They used to cost $1.00-$2.50 to send a transfer but most of the big banks are now providing them for free (including my big bank, BMO).
There is a cautionary tale though. Recently there was some theft and fraud and the people involved where not able to recoup their money (this guy was out $2775 according to CBC). Hackers went into the email to transfer money to their account and they could answer the secret question with information found in the email account.
The banks suggest that you only have a secret question and an answer to a question only you and the receiver would know. Don’t make it generic (like ‘what colour is the sky’ and don’t make the answer easily found in your email).
Kind of makes you think that cheques are safer, doesn’t it?
If you’re interested in using personal cheques instead of an Interac e-Transfer, here are five ways on how to save money on personal cheques in Canada.
Open Up Another Account to Get Free Personal Cheques
Motive Financial has a chequing account (called the Cha-Ching Chequing Account) that you can attach to their Savvy Savings Account (this account currently offers a 3.00% interest rate as a high interest savings account).
When you sign up for Motive Financial’s chequing account you get 50 free cheques delivered to you. My chequebook arrived quickly after I set up the account. However, setting up the account itself took about a month to complete- check out my Motive Financial review here.
Tangerine Bank also gives you your first 50 free cheques when you sign up for their bank account. After that, to order more cheques their rates were more reasonable than the big banks ($20 for 50 cheques) but as of January 1 2020 they increased to $50 for 50 cheques. Here’s my review of the Tangerine Savings Account.
Simplii Financial has a No Fee Chequing Account with unlimited personal cheques. You can order more when you are done with your chequebook. For more information on this and other chequing accounts that offer cheques, ‘cheque’ out my no fee banking in Canada post here.
Finally, the Scotiabank Ultimate account gives you a book of 100 free personal cheques per year. The monthly fee of $30.95/month is waived if you have a minimum of $5000 in your Scotiabank Ultimate account or over $30,000 across the Ultimate chequing account and the Scotiabank Momentum Plus savings account.
Become Buddies with a Big Bank Financial Advisor
Another option is to get to know your big bank advisor.
I personally try to avoid any schmoozing or talking with anyone in person at a bank, but this can work for some people (especially those who are great at relationship building with bank personnel). The bank advisor would have to get it approved though, because the bank has to pay for these cheques and they can’t just do this for anyone- maybe if you have private banking in Canada though.
Also, sometimes you can get one cheque from the bank teller for a nominal amount if you’re really in a pinch. I know, I know, one cheque is not the same as a chequebook of 50 cheques though. But better than nothing if you’re in a bind for that one cheque.
Print Your Own Cheques in Canada
Can i print my own cheques in Canada, you may wonder.
Why, yes, yes you can print your own cheques in Canada.
Here’s how to get the cheapest personal cheques in Canada.
You can print your own cheques instead of getting them inadvertently from David and Henderson through your big bank (like TD, RBC, BMO etc.)
Technically, you could actually make your own cheques, but it’s not practical because you would need blank cheque paper, magnetic ink, and a compatible printer.
Another option that really surprised me is to use a third party cheque provider and order your own bank cheques online. I didn’t even know it was possible because I always thought you had to go through your bank. You don’t, and your cheque will still be legit!
To get your own personalized cheques, you would need information like:
- Your transit number
- Your institution number, and your account number to use this option
- You would need to have a void cheque available (remember to save that last cheque from your big bank).
ChequesPlus is based out of Quebec and provides free shipping on most orders to be delivered to Quebec or Ontario.
For ChequesPlus personal cheques, you can get 100 cheques for $24.99. This is indeed one of the cheapest options available.
They also have a best price guarantee that if you find a cheaper price elsewhere, you just have to, at the time of purchase, provide evidence of the valid offer such as an ad or excerpt from a catalogue.
Then ChequesPlus will match the price.
The turnaround time is fast for ChequesPlus.
An order placed before 1:30pm EST usually gets shipped out the same day, and this is for no extra cost.
ASAP cheques is based out of Gananoque, Ontario and to order a cheque book from them is about 50% off from what the big banks like TD or Scotiabank or RBC would charge. Reviews seem very positive around the Internet and the company seems very well regarded.
Also, turn around time is fast, your order is printed and shipped within 24 hours. Their shipping time is very fast. The cheque you get is ‘no frills’ but unless you are determined to get a a watermark image of horses galloping in the background and shiny gold coloured address in the upper left hand corder, this is a good option if you’re looking for the basics of what a personalized cheque needs to be.
Cheques just need to be cashed, they don’t need to look pretty, right?
Here’s ASAP cheques pricing for personal cheques in Canada. As you can see the more you order, the more ‘cheque for your buck’ you will get. 100 personal cheques for $30!
ASAP cheques definitely seems legit for you to order your personal cheques in Canada. They also provide cheques for the rest of North America too (e.g. United States). They require a void cheque and you must fax, mail or e-mail a sample voided cheque. However, if that’s not possible, you can get a ‘direct deposit’ form or a ‘voided cheque form’
Here’s a promo code or Affiliate code for ASAP cheques- you enter this when you checkout SJ01029. The reassuring thing is they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Cheques Now is another option for personal cheques. You can collect 1 Air Mile for every $25 spent with Cheques Now. You can get 80 cheques for $60. Here’s a screen shot of their pricing for personal cheques in Canada:
ChequePrint.ca is another Canadian cheque company based out of Calgary. Their prices are 100 cheques for $53.00 and this includes free shipping. It also includes a free transaction booklet and you have the option of putting a watermark background of cute puppy dogs or other personalized features to make your cheques truly personal (but this is at an added cost).
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Vistaprint Personal Cheques in Canada
Another potential option is using Vistaprint. However, Vistaprint cheques don’t look like they can be delivered in Canada (and only delivered to a US address).
I am a big fan of Vistaprint in general, their customer service is quite top notch. If you’re not happy with something they try and fix it right away.
Increase Your Minimum Balance
If you’re banking with the big banks, depending on the bank, you could increase the minimum balance of your chequing account so that the bank will waive any cheques that you want to purchase by upgrading to a more ‘premium’ banking package at your big bank.
For example, TD Bank gives you free cheques if you have a minimum balance of $5000 for the All Inclusive Banking Plan package.
Another example is the Scotiabank Ultimate Package. You can get 100 free personalized cheques per year with this banking package. It is free if you maintain a minimum balance of $5000 a month in the chequing account (or $30,000 between the chequing account at Momentum Plus savings account).
Here’s my Scotiabank Ultimate Package review. We upgraded our Preferred Package account to this and have been happy.
The downside is that you will have a lot of cash just “sitting there” and there are opportunity costs associated with that. $5000 for a year in a 1.2% high interest rate ‘virtual’ bank is $60 in interest income.
To bypass the lost opportunity cost, you could always move the money out after you get what you want (the personal cheques) and downgrade your banking package.
If you don’t have enough money for the minimum balance (or don’t want to put in the minimum balance) you could pay for the $25 a month banking package and then order your cheques, and then downgrade again. The fee you pay might be pro-rated but it will still be cheaper than the $50 that you would have paid for 50 personalized cheques.
Use your Line of Credit
Another tricky way is to get free cheques from your line of credit.
For example, with the Royal Bank Line of Credit, you can write two cheques per month free of charge, when you have a Royal Bank Line of Credit.
The flip side to this is that it can be very tricky not not ‘play with fire’ when dealing with a HELOC or line of credit… it’s too tempting to be flippant with the spending that goes on in there when you use it for your day-to-day banking needs.
Personally I would avoid this option to get free cheques because you are lingering in the territory of debt. However, some people may find it appealing since it requires little effort if you already have a line of credit approved for you.
Don’t forget to pay off that cheque otherwise you start accruing interest and the savings you think you got from not buying a cheque book will be gone.
Personal Cheques Canada Recap
To summarize, buying personalized cheques in Canada doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg if you are not keen on jumping on the Interac e-Transfer band wagon. Here are some ways to save money on cheques:
- Jump on the Interac e-Transfer band wagon (at least occasionally?)
- Open up another chequing account (e.g. a virtual bank) to get 50 free cheques, like at Tangerine or Motive Bank or get the Scotiabank Ultimate package
- Become friends with the bank teller or advisor
- Order your own cheques from a third party supplier
- Increase your minimum balance or switch to a higher cost banking package plan (and then reverse it later)
- Use your line of credit
Hope these tips help you save money on your next chequebook!
Readers, do you still use personal cheques?
Or do you mainly use Interac e-Transfers?
You might also be interested in:
- How to Write a Cheque in Canada
- Business bank account promotions in Canada
- BMO New Account Offer
- Tangerine Promotions
GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.
21 thoughts on “How to Save Money on Personal Cheques in Canada”
Hi GYM. I only write checks in the rare circumstances that I have to do so. Maybe 5 or so a year at the most. They tend to be for home maintenance contractors that do not take a credit card. And fortunately, when I need a new supply of checks, my bank gives them to me for free! Tom
@Tom- You have a nice bank, maybe it’s a Canadian thing were they try and gauge you for $1 a cheque!
I have used ASAP for both business and personal. While they may not have fancy holograms…they do work and I have never had a problem using their cheques. I go through about 50 a year…
@JamesB- Thanks for sharing your experience with ASAP cheques! I have a new set of 50 courtesy of Motive hopefully it will last me a few years.
I rarely use cheque’s but when I run out I’ll have to look at ASAP cheque’s, thanks!
Also, is it me or do people who never use cheques not realize that if you make a cheque out to CASH, that it means that cheque is as good as cash? I was trying to help a contractor once who gave me a really good deal, with the caveat that I pay cash, when I presented him with a cheque made out to cash he had this really confused look on his face and for a second thought I was trying to scam him and explained that it IS good as cash. I only want the paper trail incase I have a problem later.
@moneyhelp- Hmm I have a feeling that contractor wanted straight up cash and not a cheque to avoid a paper trail. It seems very common in the contractor/ building business.
I use Simplii and get free cheques anytime I need to. I used it a lot when I was renting but after I stopped renting, I’ve used it 3 times in the last 6 years. Most people request e-transfer now that they’re free.
@KQ- Great tip thanks I did not know that about Simplii!
We have the TD All Inclusive bank account for the free cheques, but also for the TD Infinite Visa annual fee waiver. So we do miss out on a bit of interest by having to keep the minimum balance, but the credit card free being waived each year makes the account pay for itself.
@Leanne B- Our joint account is the same, we have lots of cheques from TD. I like to keep the minimum balance too, it serves as an emergency fund and free premium credit cards, free cheques, free safety deposit box etc.!
I still write checks for TwC’s preschool tuition and my rent. That is the only form of payment they accept but it’s nice to have them handy. Our bank gave out the first hundred for free when you first open a checking account but after that you are on your own. I know that Costco sells them at a low price. I may look into that when I run out of checks…oh I only have 10 left. =/
@Kris- Oh no, that’s like 5 months away! Yeah, I was reading you can do Costco cheques in the states. ASAP cheques does US cheques too I believe.
As always, another informative and detailed post from you, GYM! Thanks for this helpful roundup. I’ll be referring to this post the next time I need to order cheques!
(Why we still need them, I don’t know! I wish everyone would get on-board with e-transfers!)
@Chrissy- Thanks 🙂 I am one of those old millennials who are wary of e-transfers still haha. I still like how you can see a bit of the ‘memo’ on the cheque to see what it was about and why it was written.
Only write cheques for rent but I was told they were looking into an online payment option.
@jimmbboe- Great, you won’t have to source cheques very soon then!
Some banks do offer an initial set of free cheques upon request, but not all. And, paying fee for availing a cheque book is really painful. I mean, it’s your own account and to use money from it (through cheque) you have to bear a fee. Strange! I wish the free cheque facility is extended by different banks to ease out things for customers.
They mention an option for $25 100 cheques https://www.howtosavemoney.ca/cheques-plus-review
@Markll- Thanks for sharing!
THANKS FOR ALL YOUR GREAT INFORMATION ! I needed this,,,please keep this site, it is so informative to all. Caroline
@Anonymous- You’re welcome Caroline! 🙂