Stop Writing Checks! 5 New Ways To Pay

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no more checksWhen is the last time you wrote a check? Unless you live in a small town, it takes a plethora of photo ids, fingerprinting and a lie detector test to pass a check in some stores. Luckily, with the proliferation of debit cards, it's rare that anyone is even carrying.

While it may be a little sad that future generations will no longer know what a "hot check" is, and most likely the phrase, "The check is in the mail," and my favorite, "Your mouth is writing a check that your ass can't cash," will go the way of the dodo; trees, time and money will be saved.

So now is as good a time as any to shred your personal checks. Who needs 'em? Even doctor offices are installing the swipers to take your money instantly. Checks are practically obsolete in most situations, and here are five new ways you can skip those outdated, tree-killing, money changers.

  1. Deposits -- Whether you use direct deposit (you should, most companies pay direct deposit employees earlier than others), or the new photo technology, there are fewer and fewer reasons to get the check in your hand, before it winds up in your account.
  2. Donations -- Most non-profits have a system set up where they can either directly deduct a payment from your checking account, send you to PayPal, or take credit cards. People under the age of 30 probably don't even know what the box at the top of the check is for -- do you?
  3. Bank Statements -- Do you get canceled checks in the mail every month? Most banks are resorting to photocopies, or nothing at all. Which cuts down on the bulk in the "banking" file in your cabinet.
  4. Taxes -- No accountant is looking at canceled checks anymore. If you have to produce them, find those photocopies the bank sends with your statements (see above).
  5. Buying a House -- Whether your state puts your money in escrow, or you show up at closing with multiple checks in hand, many mortgage brokers are making the switch to digital. Wiring funds means the end of writing checks with all those zeros. Landlords are getting savvier as well, requiring a regular monthly transfer of the rent.

How often do you write a check?


Image via Andres Rueda/Flickr

going green, home finances

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Proud... ProudSingleMum

Not often. I've even discovered online banking through my bank. I go in and type in the amount and the date for the saved businesses I have, and the BANK writes the check...and mails it, at NO COST to me! WOOHOO! 

nonmember avatar KaseyS

If checks are so dead. How come there's an iPhone app that lets you deposit paper checks? You even linked to a story about it.

By the way - PayPal offers this same technology to check writers now. More than $100,000 was deposited in the first 36 hours it was available.

Senior Director of PayPal Mobile Laura Chambers even said - "...we had no idea how much pent up demand there was for a quick, easy way to deal with checks.”

Plus - you'd think most MOMs would realize how often they actually need checks. School field trips, dues for clubs and sports etc. etc.

Can you pay the kid who mows your lawn or the babysitter with anything but cash or check? Is there somewhere to swipe a credit card on the girl scout who sells you cookies?

Sure - we use checks less and less. But they aren't gone yet.

nonmember avatar Bob

I wrote one yesterday, I have four more to write this weekend, and at least three more on Monday. No photo ID requirements, no lie detector tests, and no fingerprint requirements. Just write and pay. It's a great system! You ought to try it sometime. I've seen way too many times how often the electronic payment or receipt of money goes wrong to ever want to be involved in it. Just search "direct deposit" in the "News" category to see all the times that the system fouls up and employees don't get paid when they're supposed to. Set up your bank account for automatic bill payment and watch your money vanish as payments are made for bills you don't owe. Who needs checks? I do!

nonmember avatar E. Gallup

I still use checks in place of cash, debit, or
credit cards. I like the fact that the clerk will ask for ID. I do not even have a debit card. Sometimes I use electronic checks from
my bank. Sometimes I use a credit card---
rarely. I do pay some bills online. I do not
have automatic withdrawal authorization for
any bills. No one gets into my bank account
unless I permit them, one check at a time.
Just call me paranoid.

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