In the old days, people wrote checks for everything from groceries to used cars. Everybody walked around with a checkbook in their purse or back pocket because it was the primary means of conducting transactions. Not any more. Today, most people pay their bills electronically via their personal computer or even their Smartphones.
If you’re thinking about your banking needs it’s not unreasonable to look at old school options such as personal checks.
Let’s fact it, despite the advent of modern online banking, direct deposit, and payment services like PayPal, most merchants still accept paper checks. And why not? Paper checks still play a vital role in the banking system because they are a simple and convenient way to compensate vendors who peddle their goods and services.
Although we’ve been conditioned to believe otherwise, many vendors prefer checks, not only because they represent immediate receive payment, but also because they alleviate the need for keeping large sums of cash on their premisses. Checks are also accepted by most merchants who refuse to accept credit cards.
Businesses prefer paper checks over credit cards because, unlike PayPal of credit cards, there are no fees to deposit checks into a bank account either. PayPal and credit cards companies regularly charge fees to use them — in many cases they can be hit with fees of over 2.5%.
Another benefit to paper checks is their low cost. I know what you’re thinking: How can I order my checks? Well, you can get your checks from a bank, or cut out the middle man and go through a low-cost check-writing house such as The Bradford Exchange.
True, checks can be slightly more difficult than paying with a credit or debit cards, and they slow down transactions when you’re buying goods or services over the Internet because the business owners typically must wait to receive the check — and sometimes verify the funds are available — before they’ll ship.
Like credit cards, checks also require added care to prevent their theft; if not caught soon enough, a misplaced checkbook can eventually result in financial losses and even lead to having your identity stolen. The solution, of course, it keep your checkbook safely locked in a safe or desk drawer until you are ready to use them.
The Bottom Line
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: whether you choose to have checks is up to you. Paper checks provide a nice alternative as a backup form of payment. After all, you never know — the day may come when you wish you had them.
Photo Credit: CarbonNYC