The rates you'll pay on convenience checks can include a special fee tied to using the check itself, plus any service charges for the transaction you're using the check to complete. For instance, let's say you're using a low interest credit card to buy a $500 bicycle from someone you met on Craigslist. Based on typical fee statements posted with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, you'll spend about $15 in upfront finance charges for the privilege of writing that access check. That's the same as a 3 percent cash advance fee, as if you had drawn cash from your credit card using a nearby ATM.Credit cards with low-cost convenience checks
According to posted cardmember agreements, Capital One doesn't impose a surcharge on their "access checks." Instead, you'll pay just the prevailing service fee for the kind of transaction you're completing with the check. A handful of Capital One's posted offers include special deals for balance transfers, saving you money if you intend to use a convenience check to pay down another credit card.
If you're using your access checks for a vendor that doesn't show up in Capital One's list of valid balance transfer payees, you'll pay a minimum of $10 in service fees, 3 percent of your transaction amount.
Think twice before using convenience checks for anything other than emergency cash advances or person-to-person payments. Most utility companies now accept credit cards, usually for a processing fee much less expensive than your bank's minimum service charge. Even some landlords have enabled credit card payments using tools from PayPal and Square. Remember that convenience checks don't offer you the same purchase protection as paying with your credit card, making that $500 payment a big ripoff if the wheels fall off that bicycle.