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Q: I’ve heard friends and co-workers talk about using credit card checks, but I don’t really understand them. How do they work?
A: Credit card checks work just like checks written on a regular bank account, except in the case of credit card checks, the amount of the check is actually added to your credit card balance. In other words, using credit card checks for purchases, transactions, cash advances (which themselves may have an additional fee), or whatever you are using them for is just like using the credit card itself, but you’re adding in an extra step because you have to write the checks out.
Some credit card companies offer credit card checks so that you can start charging to your account immediately, even before you receive your credit card. However, they probably won’t tell you that there are usually transaction fees for using credit card checks. These fees can be rather steep, and will be tacked on to the amount the check was written for, thus raising your overall balance.
You are better off just waiting until the card itself comes before you start putting charges on the account. There’s no need to pay additional fees when just having a little patience will prevent this.
If you receive credit card checks, you should immediately shred them. You don’t want them falling into the wrong hands and you being responsible for the charges that will result.