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Wal-Mart Sells Paper-Check Fraud Protection for Just $1.95 per Box

By Jim Bruene on September 8, 2010 8:06 PM | Comments

imageNaturally, we use online payments as much as possible both at home and in our business. But even so, we still go through a box or two of old-school paper checks every year.

Running low on business checks, I today logged in to my bank to order a box. Unfortunately, it does not support online reordering of business checks, only personal ones. I was referred to a toll-free number. But rather than go through an unknown phone ordering process, I went back to WalmartChecks.com (note 1), a service from Wal-Mart that I had tested many years ago.

imageThe reordering process was drop-dead simple: Just click Quick Reorder on the homepage, type the bank's routing number, account number, and beginning check number, then make a few selections from the menus, and press reorder. It takes all of about 60 to 90 seconds. You don't even have to input payment info, because the total is simply deducted from your checking account.

But the reason for this post is to highlight the interesting cross-sale made during the reordering process. For $1.95 per box, Wal-Mart offers a check-fraud protection service called EZ Shield from a company of the same name, a recent spin-off from printed-check marketer, Custom Direct (CDI). I was pitched the product through a yellow-highlighted box in the middle of the order-confirmation screen (see first screenshot below).

I wasn't sure what it was, so I clicked on More Details to learn that EZ Shield reimburses users for fraudulent use of the checks in the box (see second screenshot). The service provides coverage of up to $25,000 total if one or more of the 200 checks is altered, stolen from the payee and deposited, or used with a forged signature. The EZ Shield logo is printed on the checks to remind users that they are protected.

Bottom line: While paper-check fraud is not a major concern to me, I still value the small improvement in peace of mind I get for just $1.95. And for Wal-Mart, the $1.95 was a 28% revenue lift to a $6.96 box of checks. More importantly, the value-add makes it more likely I'll be a repeat customer even when my bank eventually enables online check reordering.

WalmartChecks.com shopping card with EZ Shield cross sales (9 Sep 2010)

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Popup explanation of EZ Shield (link)

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Note:
1. According to Compete, the check-ordering site gets about 150,000 unique visitors per month and traffic has been relatively flat the past year.

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