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 Checks are practically obsolete in most situations, and here are five new ways you can skip those outdated, tree-killing, money changers.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