The hidden costs of check issuance

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The hidden costs of check issuance

By: Elisa Logan, Vice President Marketing 

Homeowners know that the cost of their mortgage is just one part of the total cost of home ownership. There’s insurance, utilities, taxes, decorating, yard care, cleaning supplies – the list can seem endless and is difficult to assemble without reviewing and tallying each transaction over a long period of time. Even more difficult to calculate is how much of your time is devoted to care and maintenance.

Putting together a detailed list of costs involved with check issuance can be equally daunting, especially when it comes to production costs and bank fees. Western Union has a nifty online Check Cost Calculator that lets you plug in the number of checks you write per month to get an estimated per check cost. It serves as a great reminder of all of the tasks and add-on costs that come with paper checks.

However, the calculator does not account for the amount of time your staff spends processing and sending checks. That variable considerably increases the cost per check from the calculator’s estimate of $1.51/check per month up to the $3-$20 estimates found elsewhere.

Consumers are already enjoying the benefits of moving from checks to electronic payments, and 70% of businesses believe it is likely that their organizations will convert the majority of their payments to electronic in the next three years (Association for Financial Professionals 2016 survey results).

Check out our new infographic, “Replacing Checks with e-Payments,” to learn more about trends in business payments that are helping businesses deliver payments the way consumers want and drive down costs. And read on to discover why the cost of checks is nibbling away at your profitability.

 Per-Check Production Costs

These range from two cents per check for printer toner up to $7.50 for one manual check per month.

  • Check Stock
  • Envelope Stock
  • Creation of Check Details Report or Stub
  • Printer Toner
  • Check Printing (replacement of check printer - depreciation)
  • Sorting, Stuffing, Sealing and Transportation
  • Manual Cost Per Check (costs for manually having a check printed, signed, and approved)

Per-Check Delivery Costs

While postage is estimated at 44 cents each, it’s the one or two check sent by overnight delivery or courier that add up.

  • Postage
  • Overnight Delivery
  • Courier
  • Wire Transfers

Per-Check Bank Charges

You’re probably not going to get rid of the estimated $150 monthly maintenance fee, but there are a lot of little fees that can quickly add up.

  • Per Item Fee
  • Image Capture / Storage Fee
  • Monthly Maintenance Fee
  • Daily Transmission Fee
  • Daily Bouncer Sheet Fee
  • Check Research Fee Per Item (fee charged per inquiry from your beneficiary asking about the status of their payment)
  • Check Copy Fee Per Item (fee charged per copy requested)
  • Stop Payment Fee Per Item
  • Risk Management Charge Per Check
  • Treasury Management Charge Per Check
  • Escheat charge Per Check (bank fee for managing uncashed checks)

Other Per-Check Fees & Costs

  • Service Contracts (contracts including maintenance on equipment including printers, sorter, inserter, burster, postage meter)
  • Slow Payment Penalties (interest charged for late payments)

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