Difference between Single and Duplicate checks

Updated on July 9, 2017

A check, which refers to a written order to a bank to pay a stated sum from the drawer’s account, may be in single or duplicate form. The differences between these two are as outlined in this article.


single check
A single check

A single check is one of the wide varieties of checks that come in single pages, typically without any duplicate. A transaction made using this check therefore cannot be completed in cases where the check is torn or has been misplaced.

duplicate check
Duplicate checks

A duplicate check comes with a carbon copy underneath the original check. A copy is therefore available for record keeping purposes which may assist at a later time in balancing the check book.

Comparison chart

Single checkDuplicate check
Does not require the use of a carbon paperRequires the use of a carbon paper
Writer does not need to press hard against the paperWriter has to press hard against the top check to enable duplication
No evidence left behind in case of loss of a checkIn case of loss of a check, there is evidence left behind on the duplicate copy
Its check book is less bulkyIts check book is bulky as a result of the doubled number of pages.

Single vs Duplicate checks

What’s the difference between single and duplicate checks?
A duplicate check book is most obviously going to be bulky since each page comes in twos, whereas a single check book is always lighter than the former and is more convenient to carry around. This is probably the reason why mobile business men prefer using single check books.

Whereas a transaction carried out using a duplicate check is considered much safer, that which is transacted using a single check is not very safe, since in case of a dispute or loss of the written check, a complainant may not be able to produce evidence in a court of law when needed.
Another difference crops up in the process of writing these respective checks. When writing a duplicate check, the writer has to apply a little force on the top check if whatever is being written is going to be duplicated on the check underneath. A single check, on the other hand, does not require the application of force as whatever appears on the writing surface is the most important.

In writing a duplicate check, one has to make use of a carbon paper which is the material that enables the duplication of the written content. A single check, on the other hand, does not require the use of a carbon paper since no duplication is required.


This video below will help you understand the difference between the two checks

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