Starter checks are issued by a bank to a customer who has opened up a new account and needs checks before receiving personalized printed checks, which can take several weeks. Starter checks are considered by the bank to be the equivalent of a printed check.
A starter check always has the banking customer's nine-digit routing number, followed by their banking account number associated with that checking account. The check will also have the issuing bank's name and address printed. There will also be a line for the date, amount of the check and a box for the numerical amount being issued.
Some starter checks will have room or lines to fill in personal information. A starter check writer may have the option of filling in their name, address, telephone number and driver's license number.
The common misconception about a starter check is that it is not the same as a printed personal check. As long as the starter check has the bank name, correct routing number and bank account number, then it is an equal to a printed check. Some recipients are wary of these checks because they signal either a new banker or account, with risk of bad management and bouncing.
Starter checks are most commonly used for paying bills such as rent, utilities or making a car payment. Some starter checks with not have a check number, which will make it harder to track. The best way around this is to order preprinted checks with check numbers through a check design company or through the bank directly.