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Solution Spotlight

Free Checks Aren’t Always
the Best Deal

Expense Reduction Solutions
offer benefit-focused alternatives
for financial institutions
and account holders

Consumer preference is the market driver of everything from pink laptops to vehicle cup holders to check styles. And although getting free checks is an appealing concept for some consumers, financial institutions are finding that there may be an incentive even more valuable to account holders today: choice.

Choice is valuable for financial institutions as well. Harland Clarke’s new Expense Reduction Solutions provide consumers with the check choices they want while offering financial institutions easy-to-implement solutions that can help increase bottom-line check program profitability

Creating the ‘Win-Win’ Situation

Like many organizations, financial institutions are currently focused on lowering costs and increasing efficiency. “Reducing expenses wherever possible has become a top priority for our clients,” says Jana Miller Schmidt, senior vice president of Harland Clarke Community Market Sales, Marketing and Communications. “Free checking accounts, or those with free services included, are now being examined to determine how the associated costs may be mitigated without decreasing account holder satisfaction or retention.”

With Expense Reduction Solutions, financial institutions can maintain their commitment of offering free checks to special program or club account holders. Yet Expense Reduction Solutions also enable consumers who are eligible for free checks to choose affordable designs — at either $9.95* or 50 percent off the total order price** — from a larger selection of styles. Account holders often prefer to write checks that reflect their interests or personality and can choose, for example, checks printed on recycled paper, designs that support charitable causes, or graphics featuring cartoon characters.

By shifting consumers from free checks to a check design they are willing to pay for, financial institutions benefit not only from fewer expenses, but also the potential revenue lift generated by that sale as well as subsequent reorders.

What’s New

The concept of moving account holders from a free check design to a paid option, or of mitigating costs associated with a check program, is not new. “What is unique about Expense Reduction Solutions is that it provides a turnkey solution,” says Schmidt. “Within 30 days of making a decision to initiate Expense Reduction Solutions, a financial institution can have it up and running.”

Harland Clarke has developed a streamlined approach and the tools that make implementation easy for both check program managers and new-account representatives in the branch (see sidebar, “Expense Reduction Solutions Made Easy”). Among the tools is a series of ready-to-send communications that program managers distribute to branch managers, new-account representatives and account holders informing them about Expense Reduction Solutions and their benefits.

“It’s All About Choice!” branch flashcards displaying the selection of check designs and the discount offer are also provided based on the option selected by the financial institution. Once they receive the flashcards from program managers, branch representatives simply present each special program or club account holder who is eligible for free checks with the flashcard when a new account is opened.

According to Schmidt, “Implementing Expense Reduction Solutions successfully at the branch level really can be that simple.”

Expense Reduction Solutions Made Easy

Click for larger image

The Benefits

Harland Clarke’s Expense Reduction Solutions offer a variety of benefits for your financial institution and your account holders, including:

  • More choices: Account holders can choose from a selection of specially priced scenic checks that they purchase, or accept the free checks that are provided by their financial institution.
  • Easy ordering: Branch flashcards help make selecting and ordering discounted checks easy for account holders and branch personnel.
  • Reduced expenses: Expense Reduction Solutions can help capture additional paid check orders and reduce check program expenses.

The Tools

A Harland Clarke account executive will consult with your financial institution, help select the best Expense Reduction Solutions option and ensure all tools are available prior to implementation. The tools include branch flashcards and an implementation toolkit. The toolkit, which program managers can receive via a CD or download from the Harland Clarke website, contains the following:

  • A flier explaining Expense Reduction Solutions and steps for implementation
  • “It’s All About Choice!” special offer flashcards
  • Ready-to-send branch manager, new-account representative and account holder communications with recommended copy that highlights Expense Reduction Solutions features and benefits

The Implementation Process

Program managers have four simple steps to follow in order to implement Expense Reduction Solutions:

  • Week 1: Distribute the branch manager communication to all participating branches.
  • Week 2: Distribute the new-account representative communication and branch flashcard to personnel who open new accounts.
  • Week 3: Distribute the program reminder e-mail communication to all participating branches.
  • Week 4: Distribute the account holder e-mail communication to your special program account holders for whom you have e-mail addresses.

For more information, or to see a financial model that demonstrates the value of Expense Reduction Solutions to your financial institution, contact your Harland Clarke account executive or visit

* Does not include tax, shipping or handling.
** The total order price includes standard shipping and handling. This offer does not apply to expedited delivery services, enhancements or accessories.