Using check with an old address
With the rise of digital payments like PayPal, Zella, Venmo, etc., you might think you might not need to check anymore but that not true.
As per a report published by Federal Reserve, there were 14.5 billion payments through checks in 2018 with a value of $25.80 trillion.
So, every once in a while you might have to pay someone who won’t accept payment through credit card or digital platforms. This is when you have to dig in and find your old check that has been hiding in the corner of your drawer.
But wait, your address changed since you last used the checks? Does that mean you just have to throw away the whole box of checks? or Can you still use the checks with an old address?
The answer is:
As per these statistics published by Student Loan Hero, on an average total an American family spends around $710 on the 4th of July celebration. This includes the food, alcohol, fireworks, travel, and patriotic merchandise costs.
Now before we dig in more into your options if you have checks with an old address, let’s look at what’s on a check and why you still need them!
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- Using check with an old address
- What's on a check?
- Why you still need checks?
- Is address required on personal checks?
- Is a check still valid if the address is wrong?
- Can you cross out old address on checks?
- How to order new checks
- What are some good alternatives to personal checks?
- How to fix a mistake on a check
- Is there any expiration date for the old checks?
- How to dispose of old check properly
- Final thoughts on using checks with the old address
- Can you use a check with an old address?
What’s on a check?
A check has a lot more than just an address!
Apart from your name and address, you can find the check number and blank fields to fill date, payee’s name, amount and signature.
Most importantly, the check has a MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) line that is essential to process a check. It includes details like account number, bank name and routing number magnetically coded on the check.
Having a MICR line and other details filled out correctly is far more important than updating the old address on a check.
Why you still need checks?
You must be wondering when digital payments are so convenienet and accepted almost everywhere, why you still need to have checks.
Here are the few reasons why you should still keep some checks with you:
- Some businesses do not accept credit cards. There is a transaction fee to process a credit card transaction. To avoid paying that some businesses still prefer to take cash or checks.
- It’s easier to keep a paper trail with checks than digital payments.
- Checks can still be used if there are power or internet outages. So they can come in handy to buy food and essentials in case of any adverse situations.\
- Most government agencies only accept checks. You need checks to pay for your property taxes, water bills and tag renewals.
- Paper checks can be easily sent to other people in different cities through mails.
- Paper checks can be given as gifts and the person receiving t can easily deposit the money into their bank account.
Is address required on personal checks?
Most people believe that it is mandatory to have an address on the check but that’s not the case.
It is NOT required to have an address on the check for it to be considered valid.
All you need to have is the correct account number and routing number for the check to process perfectly.
Whenever you order new checks, banks give you an option to choose if you want to print or address or not and you can leave it blank as per your preference.
If you move a lot, it makes sense NOT to get your address printed on the check to save yourself from the hassle of updating it on your checks from time to time.
Another reason why people choose not to print their addresses on checks is privacy. If your checkbook gets stolen, a thief can easily know your home address and might try to steal even more.
Also, even merchants might take undue advantage of your address on checkbooks and sell your personal information to others.
If any merchant asks you with a check with an address printed on it, you can get them a cashier’s check or maybe put a label with your printed address on the check.
Is a check still valid if the address is wrong?
Yes, the wrong address doesn’t make the check invalid.
As long as the check have correct account number and routing number, it’s deemed to be valid.
Even though there is no legal obligation to update the new address on the check still it’s the best practice to update the correct information on the check as soon as possible. It’s not the end of the world though.
Can you cross out old address on checks?
If you don’t want to order new checks and keep using the checks with the old address, you can simply use an ink pen to cross out the old address on your checks and then write the new address on the top.
You can also print some labels with a new address and put them on the top of the old address to cover up. Just make sure NOT to hide any important details on the check with the label.
How to order new checks
There are various ways to order new checks with the updated address. Each one of them varies based on price, security, and ease to order.
You can choose any of them based on your suitability.
Ordering new checks through your bank
It is the easiest and secure way to order new checks.
Banks already have all your details; you just need to update your new address with them to get the new checks within a reasonable time frame.
Most of the banks allow you to order checks online and you can also call them or visit any of their branches to do so. Also. You can have your checks delivered at your home or at the bank to pick up later in-person.
There can be a small fee to order checks through the bank (which can be waived if you talk with the bank personnel) which varies from bank to bank.
So, I would suggest checking with your bank about the fees and estimated time for the delivery of your checks.
Ordering checks online through third-party vendors
There are various third-party vendors apart from the bank that allows you to order check online. These sites allow you to order check with many designs, fonts, etc. and can deliver your checks order faster than the bank.
But ordering through these sites is not as secure as ordering through the bank. You will have to share all your account details like account number, routing number, address, etc. with them.
That’s the reason most people don’t prefer to order their checks through them.
I am not suggesting you NOT order through this option but do your due diligence before choosing a vendor.
Many reputed and trustworthy vendors make sure that your information is 100% secure such as Walmart Checks, Checks in the mail, etc.
Printing checks at home
Wondering if that’s even possible? Well yes, you can print your checks at home using your bank’s guidelines.
It’s not a very popular option but it’s worth a try if your banks allow you to do so.
You don’t require any special paper to print your checks, but it needs to be in a special format with your account details on it for the bank to honor it.
With all the options mentioned above, ordering checks through a bank is the safest and secure way to get the new checks with the updated address.
This way you don’t have to risk sharing your critical information with anyone.
What are some good alternatives to personal checks?
If you don’t want to use the check with an old address and have no time to order new checks, you can use the following alternatives until you get the new check:
Money orders are just like personal checks that can be bought at banks, convenience stores, USPS, pharmacies, and other check cashing places. You can buy them using cash or your debit card.
You need to write the name of the person you are paying to and sign your name on the money order for making it valid.
They can be bought by paying a small fee of $1 to $5 depending on the place you are buying from.
There are certain limits to the amount of money order you can get. For instance, you cannot get a money order exceeding $1000 from USPS.
Since they can be bought from other places apart from the bank, you don’t necessarily need a bank account for purchasing a money order.
Just like money orders, cashier’s checks are also like personal checks, but they are guaranteed by the issuer.
You can purchase cashier’s check only from the bank or credit unions and they are payable only to a specific person.
They usually cost $10 or more but they guarantee funds since the bank is paying on behalf of the customer.
How to fix a mistake on a check
It’s common to make a mistake while writing a check.
Some check writing mistakes are misspelling the name of the person you are writing the check for, write a check in the name of the wrong person, wrong date, incorrect amount, and so on.
There is no need to panic and these mistakes can be easily fixed.
You can either write a new check altogether or you can cross out the mistake and write the correct information.
Just make sure to put your initials next to the corrected information so that the bank knows that it was fixed by you.
Most of the banks accept minor corrections like this and clear the invoice.
But if you have made more than one error on the check, I would suggest voiding this check and writing a new one to make sure it gets cleared without any issue.
Is there any expiration date for the old checks?
No, there is no expiration for the old checks.
You can use them without any issues if you have the correct account details on them. So, you can use your checks with your old address as long as you have them.
How to dispose of old check properly
It is important to dispose of your old check properly so that they do not get into the wrong hands.
The best way to get rid of old checks is by shredding them. This way you can make sure that no one reads sensitive information of your checks.
If you don’t have a shredder, you can either cut them or burn them or simply turn them in at your bank and they can take care of getting rid of them for you.
Final thoughts on using checks with the old address
By now, you must have gotten the idea that the checks with the old address are valid and you can use them as long as you want.
If in case, you want to order the new checks you can do that using the options mentioned above and make sure to discard your old ones using the proper means.