Addressless Checks
February 25, 2005 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Printing checks without your address on them?

Are you required to have your address printed on your checks? If not, can anyone recommend an online site (or even a physical store in the Boston area) where I can get them printed up? Most online sites don't seem to give me the option to remove the info. I'm a Fleet/BOA customer, if it matters.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow to Work & Money (14 answers total)
A year ago, I called up Fleet/BOA and asked them to send me new checks without my address. They charged me something reasonable (can't remember the exact amount) for them, and took about two weeks to get them to me.
posted by copperbleu at 9:34 AM on February 25, 2005

Another idea is you can just get a PO Box or office supply mailbox, move your accounts there, and allow that to get printed. Works fine with my business account.
posted by rolypolyman at 9:37 AM on February 25, 2005

Remember that if you don't have an address on your check, some buisnesses may refuse to take the check (that's legal in some states, at least). And the first website I could find about MA, general stuff about identity, does say it's legal for a business to request that you provide your address from a photo ID or such like if your address is not on the check.
posted by skynxnex at 9:39 AM on February 25, 2005

skynxnex, thanks for that. I don't object at all to giving my address to stores, so that's not a problem. I just tend not to live anywhere for very long (I'm still at that stage in my life!) and it's a pain in the ass to keep getting checks reprinted. As it is now, they're printed with the address for the house I grew up in--where my parents still live, but I haven't since 1999!

copperbleu, great idea. I've never gotten checks through the bank, so that's something I hadn't thought of. I'll give them a call and see what they can do for me...
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 9:58 AM on February 25, 2005

You might also want to consider actually printing your own checks. Then you can change your address as often as you like.
posted by Jim Jones at 10:26 AM on February 25, 2005

I just tend not to live anywhere for very long (I'm still at that stage in my life!) and it's a pain in the ass to keep getting checks reprinted.

I'm in a similar position, and I just cross out the old address and write in the new one manually. It's kind of tedious, but I only use checks to mail off bills, so I don't mind. Never had a single problem with that. If you are moving around the same city and/or ZIP, I don't see why that would be a problem. Now, moving between cities or states, maybe.
posted by MrZero at 11:10 AM on February 25, 2005

RE: Printing your own checks -- be careful that they are actually MICR'ed (that they have the little magnetic numbers at the bottom). If they are not MICR'ed, or the MICR is of poor quality, some person somewhere is going to have to handcode your check, which lets in the Big Beast of Human Error. And, if your check is misprocessed because of bad MICR, your bank will most likely not reimburse you for anything.
posted by Medieval Maven at 11:41 AM on February 25, 2005

Just to re-emphasize what MM said, for printing your own cheques, the code at the bottom has to be printed with magnetic ink. It is unlikely that you can do this cost-effectively unless you're writing a very large number of cheques (in which case you probably wouldn't find re-printing them to be such a hassle :-)
posted by winston at 11:55 AM on February 25, 2005

I have a regular printer and my bank has never had a problem cashing my checks. YMMV, I guess.

Anyway, Versacheck offers magnetic ink for a variety of printers and it looks like the cost is comparable to regular refills.
posted by Jim Jones at 12:42 PM on February 25, 2005

I've had checks with no address on them for years, and haven't had a problem. I've had them printed by Message!Products, which donates a portion of the proceeds to whatever organization you choose to support.

To clarify: they offer a bunch of different check styles, each style affiliated with a different organization (American Museum of Natural History, various environmental organizations, etc.) You choose whatever one you want. Message Products Site

There are a number of online companies that print checks. I've also had "Van Gogh" checks that were pretty cool. They may have been printed by these folks, but I'm not sure, and anyway you weren't asking about interesting checks, just address-less checks. Well, the Van Gogh checks were address-less also.
posted by amtho at 12:46 PM on February 25, 2005

I just get address labels (sometimes as "freebies" from random online places) and stick them over the address part of my check. I don't know if that looks suspicious or not exactly proper, but I haven't had any problems so far. You can buy blank label sheets and then print your own, which might make more cost sense than ordering blank or new checks.
posted by lychee at 2:19 PM on February 25, 2005

If you block out your name, it may be considered "altering" the check, so if you do the label thing, I'd leave it so that the merchant/bank can see the name on the check. Once you get it by the merchant, you're pretty good because most checks aren't visually inspected these days. Changing your address, or adding it by hand, is fine. Just don't change your own name, or add someone's name that isn't on the account. I'm definetly talking technicalities here, but I've just about seen it all in the category of Freak Things That Happen In Banking.
posted by Medieval Maven at 4:33 PM on February 25, 2005

I just had to buy new checks today, at the bank, because we're running low. We're also going to move in a few weeks. I asked for the checks to have the new address on them, but mailed to the old address. The custoserv person said she'd have to change the address on our account to change it on the checks. That wouldn't work, because our statement would be mailed to the new place before we're there. Finally she suggested printing them with no address, so that's what we're getting.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:49 PM on February 25, 2005

Definitely kosher. In twenty years and across a half dozen states, I've never signed a check that had more than my first initial and last name printed on it. No address, no D/L, no phone number or other privacy-invading info. And not one store checker has ever me given the slightest problem over it*, nor has any merchant has ever returned a check or refused to cash it ...darn it.... In short: not a problem. Every once in a while, someone needs to copy down my driver's license # onto the check, but that's it.

* A number of checkers, however, have struck up conversations about the Message!Check itself (various politically-oriented designs over the years) So recommendation definitely seconded for them. Cheap, fun, and no problems printing a name-only order.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 9:07 PM on February 25, 2005

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