For several months American Express has offered Bluebird account holders either 50 or 100 free paper checks that can be used to make routine payments and even pay credit card bills . Today is the last day of the free offer.
These are not like standard checks/cheques that you can just write out and your account will be debited. You must enter the amount online before writing the check and will receive an authorization number which must be noted on the check itself. If your check is more than $2,000, authorization can take up to 48 hours.
The thing I love about these checks is that it makes it so easy to pay bills with them (yes, I still do pay some bills the old fashioned way). Although the card is geared toward allowing those whose credit may make it difficult to qualify for a traditional bank account to have a “debit” card, you can earn a lot of points by purchasing $500 Vanilla Reload cards at CVS for a $3.95 fee, then using a Bluebird check to pay the $500 back when the credit card bill comes. What a shame that Office Depot and Staples (where you can earn 5 points per dollar by using your Chase INK card) no longer stocks these.
Here’s how to sign-up for your free cheques:
1. Login to your Bluebird account, click on my account in the upper-right corner, and choose “order Blurbird checks”.
2. Click on the green “continue” button.
3. Choose your order quanity, confirm your address, and submit the order. There will be no fee if you order checks today.
4. Don’t bother to try to order an extra batch–you will receive the following error message:
(tip of the hat to Gary)
ETA at 4:40p ET: American Express has just extended the deadline for free checks till to mid-August, but I would still sign-up today if you have been putting this off.