Use of Credit Card Convenience Checks

Credit cards are convenient for unexpected expenses, both those that are completely unforeseen and those that were just more than you expected. Having a credit card to pay such expenses or bills can be a lifesaver. However, you cannot pay all bills with a credit card. Credit card convenience checks can come in handy in those situations.

What are Credit Card Convenience Checks?

Your credit card company issues credit card convenience checks. They look nearly identical to personal checks drawn on a checking account. However, instead of coming out of your checking account, credit card convenience checks are drawn against your credit line and add to your credit card balance the same way a credit card purchase does.

How to Get and Use the Checks

Credit card companies may send you convenience checks if you request them. More commonly, however, the checks come without your request. Most, but not all, places that take regular checks will take convenience checks. Simply fill out the check as you would fill out a regular check for a bill payment or purchase.

Associated Costs

Convenience checks are considered cash advances, whether you actually receive cash from the check or use it for a purchase or bill payment. This means the interest rate your credit card company charges for cash advances will apply to all convenience check transactions. The cash advance interest rate is typically much higher than the standard interest rate on your card. An additional fee is charged to use a convenience check, which is a percentage of the amount of the check.

Other Warnings

Always be sure that using a convenience check will not put you over your cash advance limit on your credit card. If you go over your cash advance limit, the convenience check may not clear, which can lead to returned check fees and late fees from the bill you tried to pay with the convenience check. Even if your credit card company allows the convenience check to go through, over-limit fees may apply to your account.

Buying with convenience checks instead of your actual credit card means you forfeit the consumer protections credit cards give, and you will not accrue any rewards points from the purchase. If you do not plan to use convenience checks, ask your credit card company to stop sending them to you. You should also destroy any convenience checks you may already have before throwing them out to prevent theft and unauthorized use, as there is no signature verification with convenience checks