As a consumer that has choices when it comes to managing your personal finances, one has a straightforward decision to make regarding how to best handle their checking account – do you go with standard checks or with duplicate checks? With many people living from paycheck to paycheck, missing an entry into your check register for a check that you have written, but have forgotten to record, can be a very expensive proposition when other charges on the account begin to create overdrafts. Duplicate checks are a great way to have that extra reminder that a check was written, to whom, what date, and for how much.

Pros of purchasing and using duplicate checks:

A permanent record of the check as written is produced

Additional detail is available for tax purposes

Check registry is easily verified against a copy of the original check

Cons of purchasing duplicate checks:

Cost of duplicate checks is higher than standard checks

Divider must be used between checks

Storage of completed check packets

One of the strongest pros for purchasing and using duplicate checks is the fact that when properly used, one will have a permanent record of all of the details of the check as written: check number, date issued, payable to information, the amount of the check, and any information written in the memo section of the check.

We have all been in this situation before; at a busy store we find ourselves in a long checkout line with many people behind us as it becomes our turn to checkout, and we are going to write a check. We get that urge to try to complete our transaction as quickly as possible so we are not holding up other people in the line so we rush through the process of writing the check so we can hand it over to the cashier. We begin to pick up the bags from our purchase and take the receipt from the cashier and quickly leave the checkout counter to go out to our car. What have we forgotten? We have forgotten to record the transaction in the check register!

As more time passes our memory of the details of the check begin to fade. We may forget to record the transaction in its entirety, which will set us up for potential overdraft charges at a later date. Duplicate checks are a great solution to this problem as they create a permanent record of the transaction for us to revisit at a later date. All pertinent information remains available especially important information written into the memo section that may be critical for later extraction for tax purposes or simply to refresh one’s memory about why a transaction was completed.

sample picture of a duplicate checkIn another instance, although far less common, a duplicate check is an excellent means to dispute any charges against the account if for some reason your bank charges an amount other that what the check was originally written for. This does happen on rare occasion and having an exact replica of the check as written can be invaluable in resolving matters such as this. With most banks transitioning to electronic recording of checks instead of returning the original check, time can often be saved in cross-referencing transactions through the use of duplicate checks.

There are some cons to the use of duplicate checks of which the major concern is one of the cost of them as they are a little more expensive to purchase than standard checks. One can quickly perform a cost/benefit analysis based on their own activities when writing checks to determine if the additional expense for duplicate checks is worth it. Those individuals that are exceptionally disciplined and always record their checking transactions immediately after writing a check may not see the need for the “backup” benefits of duplicate checks.

Other cons with duplicate checks are much more along the line of nuisances as duplicate checks do require some additional activities unlike standard checks. The first of these is that duplicate checks require that a divider be placed between the check being written and the next check in the packet so that the information transferred from the check to the copy material does not go through to other records underneath the top check. Second, most people will want to store the packets that have the transferred check information for future reference, and this activity is not necessary with standard checks.