What Are Duplicate Checks?

Duplicate checks can be useful for bookkeeping.

Duplicate checks can be useful for bookkeeping.

Checks are used like cash for many purposes, such as paying bills or buying goods. It's important to balance your checkbook after each transaction so that you know how much money is left in your checking account. However, sometimes when you are busy or write a lot of checks at once it is hard to keep track. Duplicate checks provide a record of all written checks, helping you to make sure you know every check you've written by number, amount and payee.


A checkbook holds 20 to 30 checks bound together into a small book. Duplicate checks look the same as regular checks, only behind each check is a sheet of thin paper. This thin paper contains the spacing for all of the check information, such as payee, amount and date. However, no sensitive information such as account numbers are printed on the duplicate. When a check is written, the information is transferred onto the duplicate paper exactly. Duplicate checks can be carbon copies or carbonless copies, depending on which company makes them.

Record Keeping

When a check is written, it is torn out of the book at the perforations. The duplicate page remains behind, providing you with a record of the check that was just drawn. These records can be used later to balance the account or compare to your bank statement when you get it. In the event that there is a dispute regarding a check, the duplicate also provides proof in your defense.


Other than the record-keeping benefits, duplicate checks function in the same manner as regular checks. Checks are preferred by some people for a variety of reasons. Checks are considered safer than carrying around cash. Also, sending checks in the mail to pay bills is safer than sending cash and more convenient than going to the location to pay in person. In the event that your checkbook is misplaced or stolen, the checks can be canceled by the bank so that they will not be honored if someone else tries to use them. You can't recover cash if it is lost.


Duplicate checks generally cost more than regular checks. Take this into consideration when ordering a new series of checks. Some places, such as grocery stores, can automatically print checks for you so you don't have to write them out. If you do this, the duplicate checks won't work. Some banks charge a fee for checking accounts. However, many banks advertise free checking so finding one that doesn't charge shouldn't be a problem.


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