This is because I use my checkbook more than anyone I know.
Like a lot of folks, I pay our mortgage with a check. But I take care of utility bills this way, too, and my hairdresser gets a check for the awesome cobalt and maroon colors she puts on my bangs. Twice weekly yoga classes and monthly massages are handled with a check, and you’ll also see me pulling out my brown leather checkbook at the grocery store. It’s also here that I pretend to ignore the eye rolls and withering glances of those behind me in line.
I don’t care.
However, I’d like to tell them that I know debit and credit cards are a faster way to pay, and more convenient and efficient, than my old-timey writing ways.
Also, I’m uber aware that millennials like my 21-year-old daughter use even speedier methods such as Apple Pay and Android Pay. There’s also PayPal and Zelle, online technologies which allow someone to send and receive money directly to and from the bank of his choice, sometimes for a small fee but sometimes not.
In fact, my kid insists that she never needs to learn how to write a check—and she’s right. An increasing number of companies, Urban Outfitter and Jockey and IKEA among them, are in the same circus tent as my girl. They don’t accept checks, and frankly, their reasoning makes sense.
After all, cashiers can’t determine if a customer’s account contains enough money. (Adding insult to injury, banks
will slap fines on businesses that deposit checks from customers with insufficient funds.) It also takes longer
to prepare and deposit personal checks for a business owner, who has to sign them, fill out deposit slips and then
send them to the bank.
It’s also worth noting that for those of us holding the checkbook, it’s easy to make mistakes, with common errors including writing in the wrong company, or entering mismatched amounts of money.
A 2016 Washington Post article reported that over 40 percent of the small businesses it surveyed didn’t accept electronic payments of any kind. And, even in this new world of online banking, a whopping 97 percent of those companies said they still cut paper checks to vendors, and received checks from customers. Reasons given for taking checks included no hidden fees and familiarity, as well as having a paper trail.
I like all of these justifications.
But my main reason for writing checks is this: doing so helps me stick to my budget.
With that leather book always in my purse, I can know, in an instant, how much money I have in the bank, as well as what I’ve spent and where I’ve spent it, in the last week or even the last six months. Check writing is also a terrific system for brains that are wired like mine—those who learn best when life is handled visually and kinesthetically. By looking at a blank check, then writing an amount in, and finally recording the company and amount in the register, the information sticks in my noggin.
And really, I’m not that much of a fuddy-duddy. I keep an online account with my bank, which lets me track deposits, credits and other transactions.
It works for me.
All of this means is that I won’t stop writing checks unless it’s forced on me. Hopefully, that won’t happen
How about you? Do you write checks?