Most of us are familiar with checks. Maybe we have been long time users for all sorts of purchases, or perhaps they bring a feeling of nostalgia when receiving a birthday gift from grandma. But with all the options available today, we are using checks less and less. Some younger people may have never even used one!
So, are checks becoming antiquated? In a way, yes. We have easier and often safer access to debit cards, credit cards, and online apps at our fingertips. These have all become the most common way we pay for things in America. Our world is going cashless, and checks don’t even seem to be on the menu anymore.
But, frequently, a check is the best method of payment, such as when we need to give one to our employees so that they may deposit our paychecks directly into our bank accounts. We may also use a check to make a large payment, such as a new car or a down payment on a house. So, while they are no longer common, they still exist! For some, they are the main form of payment. According to a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center, 11% of Americans don’t use the internet at all, and most likely pay their bills using checks.
The verdict on checks is complicated, as there are pros and cons to any sort of payment option. Let’s explore what they are:
- Often, when opening a new checking account, the bank will give you a free box or book.
- Certain larger or official transactions may require one for safety.
- Most have no convenience fees, like with some electronic purchases.
- It’s not an instant transaction, so it is important to keep track of your spending after handing over a check.
- Writing checks can have hidden costs. You may need to pay for them after your first free box. Also, you have to physically deliver the payment. This means spending time and money on envelopes, stamps, and going to the bank, post office, or office.
The bottom line is that while checks are no longer the easiest and best way to pay for everyday purchases, they do have their place. It’s worth having a few around for large purchases and the few times they are needed for direct deposit, rent, etc. Even with something as simple as using a check, it’s better to be prepared for either scenario.