Recently, I needed to send money to a friend of mine. Unfortunately, the easiest way I know to transfer money from one person to another, via Paypal, was not an option in this case; my intended recipient didn’t have a Paypal account. I could have written out a paper check and sent it through the mail, or even gotten a money order from the post office, but both of those are rather inconvenient and will cost money (if only for the stamp to send them). What do you do when you want the convenience of online money transfers with the ability to send money to someone who will not (or cannot) set up an online account to receive it?
My chosen solution: to use my ING checking account to send him a paper check! It was surprisingly easy and quick, plus I was able to save money on the check/money order, envelope, and stamp. It’s not a completely perfect solution; the check will take several business days to arrive, versus the one to two business days with a regularly mailed check.
Even with that caveat, it’s still helpful to know how your online accounts can be used to generate paper checks. So, how do you do it? Follow these simple steps:
1) Open an ING Electric Orange Checking account: Start by going to www.ingdirect.com, and clicking the ‘Open an Account’ button on the left-hand side:
Then, you’ll need to click on the link for an Electric Orange account:
This will bring up a pop-up window (you might have to temporarily disable your pop-up blocker or allow this particular pop-up in order to make it appear). The rest of the application process will pretty easy; just be sure you have an offline checking account (with enough money to fund your new ING account) and that you have the account information handy. It’s really a pretty easy site to navigate and create new accounts.
2) Enter your ING Direct checking account – Just click on the words ‘Electric Orange’ to access your checking account. (I have a savings account with ING, as well as a linked Sharebuilder investment account; if you are opening your first ING account as you follow these instructions, that will be the only option available to you.):
3) Click on ‘Make a Payment’ – The large icon furthest to the left on the top of your account page will allow you to use your Electric Orange account to make various types of payments:
4) Select the Address Book option to add your intended recipient:
At this point, you will have to choose whether you are sending checks to a business or a person. If you opt for adding a person to your address book, you can choose whether you want to be able to send paper checks, electronic checks, or both. Depending on what information you have available, you might add one or both methods for the person in question:
Assuming you have the information needed to send them a paper check, we can proceed to the last step.
5) Click on ‘Send a Paper Check’ and fill in the needed information – Back under the ‘Make a Payment’ menu, select the ‘Send Paper Checks’ option:
From there, you will be presented with a virtual image of a check; simply fill in the needed details (the recipient, the amount, and any memo details):
After you click continue, all you will need to do is verify that the address to which you are sending the check is correct, and ta da, in only five short steps, you’ve used the internet to send an actual, paper check to someone. Now the next time you want to send a birthday check to your Aunt Ida who thinks that computers are the tool of the devil, you have another weapon at your disposal!