Computer Check Ordering Kit. (software package) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Alfred C. Giovetti
Into competition with Quicken checks and other check printers comes an easy-to-use program from American Check Printers. The kit advertises that you "buy this kit once and get checks inexpensively forever!"
For 20 bucks, you get a check catalog, 20 full-size check samples, an ordering, disk, and a franked disk mailer return envelope. The kit allows you to order computer pin-feed or laser checks compatible with Quicken, Microsoft Money, Quick Pay, MyBusinessCheckbook, MyCheckbook, Pacioli, Money Counts, Managing Your Money, Money Matters, Dollars & Sense, and Quick Books.
The box is covered with advertising and prices comparing the prices charged by Intuit and other software companies for computer checks to American Check Printers' prices. The price may be the best part of the deal, since the kit price is much lower than the prices offered by banks and software companies for computer checks. The quoted prices show savings of as much as $10 over Intuit's prices and $20 over the bank prices for 250 pin-feed checks or 250 laser "trippies." (A trippie is three checks on one 8 1/2- x 11-inch piece of laser paper.)
You save an additional $5 keypunch fee when you use the ordering disk to place your first order, saving the company the trouble of inputting the information. People are more careful about spelling when typing in information about their own checks than your average keypunch technician.
The software is keyboard-directed, with an adequate use of function keys to move the product along. An order cannot be written until all the necessary information is put in. One area the company double-checks for the customer is the bank codes. You must include a voided check with the order so that American Check Printers can double-check the bank numbers and codes that you have entered, at no additional charge. The program's error checking is quite sophisticated and corrected me several times when I tried to enter a fictitious bank number. After all the error-checking parameters have been reviewed, the program prompts you to check the numbers one more time.
The software retails for $20, with a lower price at discounters, and you get 100 free checks or a $20 credit toward any first order of checks, making the program virtually free. (Since 250 personal checks cost $29.95, taking the $20 credit and buying the extra 150 checks for $9.95 is a better deal than the 100 free checks.) Checks can be printed in three styles: Traditional, Professional, and Premier. The Premier, which uses laser color shading and a script style, is recommended for architects and designers. The Professional style uses parchment paper and Old English type and is recommended for accountants, attorneys, and physicians. The Traditional checks use a color border with block lettering and are recommended for those who require less elegant checks. Most checks are available in green, blue, maroon, or gray.
After the first order, the software can be copied to your hard drive with DOS. Additional orders, for a different account or to change the style of the checks, will require that you supply your own disk, disk mailer, and postage. But reorders can also be accomplished by calling a toll-free number. The documentation is brief, but it tells you all you need to know to run the software. This new way to order computer checks is very quick, easy, and economical when compared to other alternatives. It allows the computer user to customize his or her checks and to save money at the same time. Anyone who uses a computer to keep books with any of the 11 programs listed above should look into this inexpensive product.
IBM PC or compatible--$19.95
AMERICAN CHECK PRINTERS 1259 EL Camino Real, Ste. 310 Menlo Park, CA 94025 (800) AMCHECK (800) 262-4325)
Circle Reader Service Number 442