Types of Checks
When you open a bank account, there are several payment options from which to choose. You can opt for an ATM card, mobile banking, telephone banking, and mobile banking.
You will also be offered an optional checkbook facility.
Nowadays checks are losing importance in favor of other more convenient and faster modes of payments. But a check is a tried and tested method of payment.
For those who are used to making payments through checks, it is most likely to be the most preferred mode.
You can get two types of checks, single checks, and duplicate checks.
If you are unclear about the difference between the two types of checks, here we explain the difference between and the advantages and disadvantages of each type of check.
A single check is only a single piece of paper, with no copies. If by chance it gets lost, you don’t have any record of it unless you have written the details elsewhere.
It could be on the record slip at the beginning or end of the checkbook, or if you take a photograph of it.
If you use single checks, you can maintain a check register. Every time you issue a check, you need to fill in the cheque details in the check register.
A single checkbook is less bulky and will cost less because they are the simplest to print.
A duplicate check is a pair of two check leaves. The top check leaf is identical to a single check. But there is an additional paper below the top check leaf.
The duplicate check is made of carbonless paper, meaning that it produces a carbon copy without having to use carbon paper.
When writing a check in a checkbook that has duplicate checks, you need to press the pen a bit hard. It ensures that everything you write also gets transferred to the carbonless paper below.
It is not advisable to write a check with a fountain pen in a checkbook with a duplicate check.
To generate sufficient pressure, you may damage the nib. You will get satisfactory results by writing with a ballpoint pen.
Bank account details and personal information are not included on a duplicate check.
The field where the signature appears is also masked so that your signature will not appear and cannot be misused by anyone who gets hold of your duplicate check.
A duplicate check only records the basic transaction details like the amount, date, payee, and, check number.
It doesn’t have any monetary value and is not a legal document. It is only a personal record of the transaction for the payor’s benefit.
Single Check vs Duplicate Check: Pros and Cons
As in all financial instruments, there are advantages and disadvantages to single and duplicate checks.
Here are a few pros and cons to consider:
Single Check Pros
- You don’t have to worry about the type of pen you use.
- You don’t have to press extra-hard while writing single checks.
- There are no extra sheets of paper (like carbonless paper) to worry about.
- Checkbooks containing single checks are cheaper than duplicate checkbooks.
- Single checkbooks are less bulky
Single Check Cons
- You have to record the check details elsewhere or take a photograph or photocopy of the check.
- A single check is easier to forge because there is no second sheet. If a check is forged as part of a duplicate check pair, there will be some record of tampering like the second sheet missing or additional impressions if left in the checkbook.
Duplicate Check Pros
- You get an automatic record of your transaction.
- They are easy to use.
- You get an offline record of your transaction.
- It’s easier to detect forgery if done on a duplicate check.
Duplicate Check Cons
- You have to press hard while writing a duplicate check.
- Duplicate checks cost significantly more than single checks.
- Duplicate checkbooks are bulkier than single checks.
- You cannot use a fountain pen to write a duplicate check.
Now that you know the difference between single and duplicate checks, the next question is, which one is better? There is no definitive answer to this question.
If you rarely issue checks, then it doesn’t make sense to maintain a duplicate checkbook. You will find it quite easy to record each transaction elsewhere, especially if you are likely to only issue a couple of checks or so each year.
But if you are the owner of a business that needs to issue dozens of checks a week, then a duplicate checkbook is a good option.
After each checkbook gets used, you will be left with all the transactions in a single place, thereby creating a record to turn over to your accountant.
So, as you can see, there is a small difference between single vs duplicate checks, but each serves a particular purpose in the banking world.