What are Starter Checks and Who Accepts Them?


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Starter checks are common practice when opening a new checking account. If you have ever opened up a new checking account at a bank, you have received starter checks.  Now you are probably thinking what are starter checks?

Not a lot of people however know what starter checks are or what they can be used for.  In all actuality, they can be used for a lot of everyday purchases and at a lot of different places.

Starter checks are common during moving and relocation. Closing bank accounts is one of the moving hacks to save money moving out of state.  When the move is over, new accounts will need to be established.

That’s where starter checks come in.

I’m going to detail out all of the different concepts of starter checks in this article.

What are Starter Checks?

Starter checks could be considered basic bank checks.  Starter checks are the checks that your bank will give you once you open a brand new checking account in addition to your ATM and debit card.

Those items can be produced immediately at the bank, but your checkbook cannot.  The permanent checks for your checking account have to be sent out to a printer to be printed.

One reason they are sent out is because checks are printed on specialized perforated paper.  That perforated check paper is the reason why checks tear out easily from a checkbook.

Unless a bank has the capabilities to print their own starter checks on demand, most of the time a customers stater checks will be blank.

Therefore the banks use starter checks so you have temporary checks to use until your permanent ones are delivered.

  • Normally, temporary checks don’t have your personal information on them.
  • Banks will only issue a small number of starter checks; usually less than 5.
  • Numbers will usually start out sequencing at 001.

Starter checks don’t include personal information.  They are considered basic checks, temporary checks until your permanent checks arrive.

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Starter Checks vs Regular Checks

There are some differences between starter checks and regular checks.  Regular checks will have personal information included on them such as the individual’s name and address.

Some regular checks also include a driver’s license number on them in addition to a phone number.

  • Regular checks will also include the name of the financial institution on them.
  • The address of the financial institution will also be included on the regular check.

On the other hand, starter checks have omitted a lot of this information.

Starter checks with no name printed are usually how they come.  It is up to the customer or individual to fill out this information.

The individual will have to write in their address on the checks. Since there is no address on the checks, a lot of financial banking platforms will not cash them via mobile. There are some check cashing apps that don’t use Ingo that might be a possibility.

Some people wonder if starter checks have account numbers on them and that answer is yes.  There needs to be account numbers so financial institutions can transfer the money when the check is cashed.

  • Starter checks include a routing number and account number printed on them.
  • Starter checks also will have a low check number printed on them.

The only exception to receiving these new checks blank would be print on demand services at banks that we mentioned above.

Some banks now have software that will allow them to print personal information on their starter checks.  Affordable software has made this option much more affordable than in years past.

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 Is a starter check free?

Yes, more often than not, they are free if you are using the basic generic template where you must fill in your own personal information.

One way however you might be charged by a bank for these checks is if you are opting for a bank to make customized starter checks that print your personal information on them so you don’t have to.  These type of checks are often called counter checks or instant counter checks.

Banks are now looking at printing on their temporary checks (or counter checks) as a new revenue source sadly which is horrible PR for them. With the future of money evolving into a cashless system, the last think banks need to do is start charging for starter checks.

People already complain about banks and their fees and now a new customer will open a new checking account only to be charged a fee for their TEMPORARY counter checks?!  If this happens to you, find a different bank to open your checking account at is my advice.

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Are Starter Checks Valid Checks?

Starter checks are valid.  You can pay bills and do everything you could do with a regular check. Additionally, you can void a starter check to set up direct deposit as well.

  • Things such as paying for your groceries at a grocery store, paying for child care services, or making your payment for your auto loan are all valid payments you can make with starter checks.

Temporary checks are valid checks however, not all places take starter checks because they lack a lot of the personal and security issues that most merchants and vendors look for.

  • There is a higher risk of fraud when a company, business, or merchant accepts a starter check.  With permanent printed regular checks, a merchant knows that the check has passed the banks background check.

Additionally, regular checks have the issuing bank and financial institution printed on the regular checks.  For starter checks, this information is missing.

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Do Starter Checks Expire?

No.  These checks don’t have an expiration date included on them. However, when you open your account at a bank, you will only be given a limited number of these temporary checks to use.

Some banks will give you up to 10 if you ask for that many.

However, with debit and ATM cards, a lot of customers prefer to use those methods of payment instead.

Additionally, as mentioned above, a lot of businesses won’t accept these checks because they are worried about fraud and checks bouncing since these checks are basically a check template with no personal information printed on them.

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What Banks Give Starter Checks?starter checks wells fargo

Most banks today, if not all, banks offer starter checks.

A lot of people however opt to not get checks initially, and just rely on their debit card that is given to them immediately at time of account opening.

Some of the banks however that give starter checks and counter checks are:

  • Morgan Stanley
  • JP Morgan Chase Bank
  • Navy Federal Credit Union
  • Bank of America
  • Ally Bank
  • CitiBank
  • US Bank
  • Capital One
  • BB&T Bank
  • Key Bank
  • PNC Bank
  • TD Bank

Most banks today do offer some type of free checks when you open an account.

Some of these banks above do have restrictions so be sure to visit the web page of each bank for details.

While most banks do offer temporary checks, they may only offer it for certain accounts opened.

Can you deposit a starter [temporary] check in your account?

Absolutely.  There is nothing that prohibits you from using a starter check from making a deposit into your account.

Simply fill out the check like you normally would making it payable to you and then despot the check into any account you own.

Just keep in mind the direct deposit times that are necessary for the banks to update accounts before the money is available.

As long as there is a routing and account number available on the checks, you should not have any problems at all depositing it.

Who Accepts Starter Checks?who accepts starter checks

There are a lot of places and stores that accept these checks.  Some of those stores include anything and everything from gas stations to department stores.

Even some landlords will accept them as a form of payment for rent.

This is true a lot of times for new tenants who have had to relocate from a different area.

Sometimes, it can take a while to get new banking an checking accounts established.

Chances are if that landlord has done their background on you, they would be comfortable accepting this check from you.

Even section 8 landlords would be inclined to accept these checks from their tenants.

If you use one of these checks to pay your utility bills and send them through the mail, chances are that the company will accept them instead of contacting you for a new check.

They will attempt to deposit it over not depositing it if they have the check in their hand.

Grocery stores that accept starter checks

There are not many grocery stores that accept temporary checks.  However, Publix is one that will cash temporary checks and also personal checks.  You will have to provide photo ID, address, and your phone number.

Does Walmart accept starter checks?

Walmart will not cash temporary checks or personal checks.  They do however cash a lot of other checks including:

  • Government Checks
  • Payroll Checks
  • Tax refund Checks
  • Insurance Settlement Checks
  • Cashiers’ Checks
  • Retirement Account Disbursement Checks.

Walmart will cash any pre-printed check.  They also are a convenient location for places to get a money order near me as long as they were originally purchased at Walmart.

Does Target accept starter checks?

Target will not cash temporary checks.

Best Place to Cash a Starter Check

The best place to cash a temporary check is the bank that issued them to you.  A lot of people and establishments (including a lot of stores) don’t want to risk the fraud of accepting a counter check.

If the check were to bounce, all of that risk falls back onto the company or person that accepted that temporary check.

That is why cashing these checks at a bank make the most sense, especially the bank where you got them from in the first place.

Summary

Starter checks are considered to be a temporary thing until your permanent checks arrive.  While these temporary checks are considered to be helpful in paying bills and getting cash, it can be difficult to find places that accept them.

If you are saving money as a high school student, before you go off to college you will probably need to have starter checks.

While some of these banks charge for starter and counter checks, consider having your name and address along with the bank information on these checks printed.

There’s a lot less scrutiny over a check that is pre-printed vs one that is not. If you think you will need to find a place to cash these checks, it’s worth the few bucks it will cost to get permanent temporary checks made from the bank.

You will find a lot of department stores and merchants willing to accept printed checks vs one that is just hand-written out with contact information.

Your other option is to use your debit card until your checks arrive for everyday purchases.  For things such as credit card bills and car payments, you can use online bill pay through your bank.

This will alleviate all of the headaches that temporary checks can sometimes cause.  Despite the point of convenience these temporary checks are intended for, as you can see sometimes that’s not always the case.

Luckily there are other alternatives for you to choose while waiting for your permanent printed checks to arrive.

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