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What are Starter Checks?

Michael Pollick
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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Opening a new checking account often comes with a practical perk: starter checks. These temporary checks are a bridge for new customers as they wait for personalized checks, with over 90% of banks offering them as a standard service

Starter checks typically lack personal details but include essential routing information for transactions. New account holders can manually add their contact information, ensuring immediate account usability. This article aims to guide you through the essentials of starter checks, equipping you with the knowledge to manage your new account confidently.

Starter checks are considered by the bank to be negotiable instruments, no different than the customized printed checks customers order at a later date. But many recipients may be wary of accepting them as payment, especially if the check number is below a certain amount, typically 300. Because a checking account may be very new and the customer may not have started regular banking practices, there is a risk that the presented check could bounce due to non-sufficient funds. Some merchants have specific policies not to accept such checks from unfamiliar customers.

This reluctance to accept certain starter checks does not mean the new account holder is out of luck, however. Many people use them primarily for regular payments, such as for utility bills, rent, and loans. Companies that receive a significant number of checks on a regular basis are generally less concerned that checks of this type will be returned for insufficient funds.

Once the supply has been exhausted, the customer is free to order customized checks containing all of the essential routing and personal contact information. Some starter checks do not even have pre-printed check numbers, so the user must be especially diligent about writing and recording them in order. The new printed checks should have sequential check numbers, but there may be a gap between the number of the last starter check and the first printed check.

Starter checks may continue to have that "new car smell" for checking account holders, but it is usually best to pay only those bills that are due, and wait a few weeks for a new pack of printed checks to arrive before paying for other things by check.

SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to SmartCapitalMind, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
By VivAnne — On Apr 21, 2011

Since starter checks are still numbered, do you have to mark any unused ones as void before you start using your ordered personal checks instead? Or is it okay to have a gap in the numbers and not explain what you did with the other starter checks? I just got my first checking account and since some companies don't like starter checks I didn't really want to use mine, so I ordered a box of personal checks. Only now, I'm not sure if you have to use the starter checks first or what -- help?

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to SmartCapitalMind, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide...
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