When you get a loan, some lenders provide a loan coupon book to help you make payments and keep track of your loan. In most cases, you are not required to use that book—but confirm with your lender before you make payments without it.
For most loans, the important thing is to make sure that the payments get to the right place on time. If you like the book, keep using it. If not, you’ve got other options. If you’ve misplaced or discarded your book and you want it back, it’s easy to get a replacement.
Pros, Cons, and Alternatives
There’s nothing wrong with using the coupon book, but those booklets can be cumbersome: you need to keep track of them, and they can feel a little old-fashioned. For years those booklets have been handy as a reminder, plus they tell you when payments are due, how much to pay, and where the check needs to be mailed. Out of tradition, some banks and credit unions still provide the coupon books.
Nowadays, it might be easier to use your bank’s online bill payment system or to have payments transferred electronically (automatically each month, without you having to take any action after your initial setup). Most lenders are happy to do this, and they might even prefer that you pay electronically—their costs for handling electronic payments are probably lower, and recordkeeping is easier. To pay using a more modern method, contact your lender and ask about the options.
Coupons are a good reminder
They include all your bank information
Ensure that your payment gets credited properly
You have to keep track of them
Coupons must be reordered
You will use more checks
Mail can cause delays
DIY Payment Coupon Book
If you want to create a payment book to help you stay on track, there are several ways to do it. Before you get started, it’s worth asking your lender if a template already exists. They might send you a booklet, or you might just be able to print out something they’ve already made.
If you need to do it yourself, you’ve got two options: start from scratch or use a template to get a head start. Any receipt template should help with the initial layout. For example, this Google Sheets template has multiple coupons on each page, and Microsoft Office has similar receipt templates.
With some minor tweaks, you’ll soon have what you need. Your payment coupons just need some basic information to make sure that your payment gets credited properly. Make sure the following items are included in your coupon:
- Your name and address
- Your contact information (especially a phone number to call if there are any questions about your payment)
- Your account number with the lender
- Your payment due date
- The amount of your payment
- Any other information about your loan (to help your lender find your loan, especially if you have multiple loans with the same lender)
If you decide to make your own coupons, make sure that your bank approves of your design. It’s probably best to send a few payments in well before your due date to ensure that they get credited to your account properly. Log in online or call your lender a few days after you send the payment, and find out how long it took for the payment to hit your account.
DIY coupons can do the job, but there is obviously some work involved. If you would rather not take all of these steps, set up electronic payments instead. You won’t have to write checks, reorder checks when you run out, pay postage, or rely on the mail to get payments in on time. Just don't forget to watch your account to make sure you have enough money in the bank for your automatic payment.