Paper check costs include supplies, man power, fraud risk, and environmental impact. In the United States, issuing paper checks can cost between $1 to $26 with an average of about $6 per check. Other factors to include in the cost of paper checks are the unbanked population, escheatment, and bank charges. 63 million adults are unbanked in the United States and face challenges and fees when cashing checks. If a check goes unclaimed there is also a risk of escheatment. So, what makes a paper check so expensive?


  • Check paper
  • Envelopes and stamps
  • Check details report or stub
  • Printer toner
  • Check printer

Manpower and services

  • Sorting, stuffing, sealing, and transportation
  • Approval and signing of checks – some companies require two signatures per check
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Follow up, reports, and audits
  • Monthly maintenance fee
  • Daily transmission and bouncer sheet fee
  • Risk and treasury management charges per check
  • Stop payment fee per check

Check fraud

500 million checks are forged each year resulting in $10 billion in losses. Businesses are open to check fraud or cybercrimes because account and routing numbers are printed on the checks. While many banks cover fraud costs, they will implement fees, enforce Positive Pay, try to shift fault to the victim, and/or end business with the victim. If the victim is forced to close their bank account they must still leave enough money to cover any unclaimed checks that may never be cashed. Between opening a new account and ordering new checks, valuable money and time is spent fixing an avoidable problem.

Environmental impact

Over 15 billion trees are cut down each year. Of those billions, millions of trees supply the paper needed for checks and envelopes that are often discarded (either to a landfill or recycled) within 90 days. The average office uses over 10,000 sheets of paper annually. Bank slips, receipts, and deposit notes increase the amount of paper used for each transaction. Petrol and jet fuel add to the resources used to deliver the checks. Lastly, ink cartridges, printers, fax machines, and copiers are hard to dispose of and require many resources that can be hard to acquire. This paper calculator allows you to calculate the environmental impacts of your paper and compare the impacts of different papers containing varying amounts of recycled content.

Paper check costs are eliminated after switching to CourtFunds. We created electronic payment networks to help more businesses reduce their paper usage. Our company offers a variety of disbursement options so your payee can choose how they want to receive their funds with no additional cost to you. You’ll save time and money while gaining peace of mind after removing paper checks.