Customers formed in line to bank counter
Credit card convenience checks, also known as credit card checks, are a benefit issued by credit card companies to cardholders. They are often sent out with your monthly statement. The checks however incur a cost upon using them. Continue reading to find out the pros and cons of credit card checks and to see if they are a useful tool for you.

What is a convenience check?

Similar to a personal check, a convenience check is a blank check that you can write and use anywhere issued by and connected to your credit card. The amount you write the check for counts against your credit line and is added to your credit card balance.

How can you get one?

In many cases, convenience checks are included with your monthly credit card statement. There may be two or three printed on a single piece of paper; just cut or tear them along the perforated lines, and they are ready to use.

If you want to use a convenience check, you call your credit card company and request them. However, there may be a fee for this service, so if you think you might want to use one, but don’t have a specified time in mind, just wait until your next statement to see if they send any.

A third way to get convenience checks is as a promotional offer from a credit card company that you’re not yet doing business with. It may send these checks as a way to pique your interest in its card.

What are the benefits of convenience checks?

Convenience checks offer just what their name implies: convenient access to money. You don’t need to take out another loan to get some quick cash or open another credit card to have access to a line of credit. The credit card company is making it easy for you to remain a loyal customer.

When you’re in a financial pinch (say your refrigerator goes out on you), all you need to do is take your convenience check and shop for a new fridge. There’s no need to go to the bank to take out a small loan or risk hurting your credit scores by taking out a store credit card. You should be careful that you don’t overspend your credit card limit, however, as then you’ll have to do with over-limit fees.

Even though using a convenience check isn’t totally free, and sometimes the interest rate or transfer fees are considered high, they usually offer better rates and fees than payday loans and can prove to be a cheaper way to get out of debt.

The benefits of convenience checks are useful for some situations, but be sure you know the terms and conditions so you truly benefit from them.

What are the downsides of convenience checks?

As with anything, there are drawbacks to credit card checks. One is that they can be expensive to use. They may offer a low intro interest rate, which makes them appealing for doing a balance transfer from a high interest credit card to pay off debt, but you need to consider the balance transfer fee, which is often 3% to 5% of the total transferred. Additionally, if you don’t pay off the amount before the intro period is over, you’ll be paying a high rate of interest. Read the terms and conditions carefully so you know exactly how the interest is charged.

Another drawback is that there may not be a grace period like you get when you use your credit card. This may not be a problem if the convenience checks come with 0% interest for a certain length of time, but if interest does start accumulating from day one, you could be in for a shock when you see your next credit card statement.

In today’s modern society, not all stores take checks anymore. While some smaller local businesses might still accept a check, generally, most larger stores frown upon this form of payment because the risk of fraud is so great. You also need to think about fraud on your end. If you lose a check in the store or it gets into the wrong hands, you could experience a huge financial setback.

Conclusion

Credit card checks can be very useful to you if you are in a situation where you need extra cash quickly or funds to make a purchase right now. They’re also great for paying off debt that has a much higher interest rate. However, if your situation does not fall into one of those categories, you’re better off not using credit card convenience checks. The fees and lack of a grace period make them a bad choice for everyday spending that you could put on your rewards credit card.