In a world where we all use our bank-linked debit cards or credit cards to make purchases or pull some cash out of the ATM now and again, paper checks are a thing of the past. It’s rare to see a person use a check in the store now that so many options are available to them. We are even moving towards swiping our phones at the store to pay for our items as more and more stores are setting up mobile payment processing. Plus, we all know just how popular online shopping has become.
However, don’t pitch your checkbook just yet. Just because checks are not used as much doesn’t mean that they still aren’t useful to keep around. Here are four reasons why we will always need printed checks.
1.They are Great for Gift-Giving
You may want to give someone the gift of money as a present, but you don’t want to make a trip to the ATM to get it. Instead, send a check. A personal check can be deposited straight into the bank account of the recipient to be used on whatever they like. If you are worried about how they will cash it, don’t be. Many banks now allow direct check deposits through a linked app. The recipient of the check simply opens up their bank app and takes a picture of the check. There is no need for the recipient to make a special trip just to cash or deposit it.
2.There are No Fees
It seems as though there is a fee for everything this day. If you take money out of an ATM that isn’t linked to your bank, then you will likely be charged a high fee for the privilege. Also, many retailers will not let you make purchases with a debit or credit card unless you hit a certain amount, such as five or ten dollars, because the credit card companies charge fees for every transaction. This won’t happen when you write out a check- you can make it out for any amount you need to without penalties.
3.You Can Trace a Check
If you are making a purchase with a person or retailer that does not accept credit or debit cards, you may wish to have a paper trail of how you paid. A paper check will give you the level of traceability that you need that you won’t get from a money order or cash payment. If you are mailing a business or person a personal check, you can make sure there is a tracking method on the package to ensure they receive it. You’ll have access to the canceled check after the check clears through your bank. If there is any reason why the check is disputed, you can pull up your own transaction as proof of payment. If you had instead paid with cash or a money order, it will be expensive and time-consuming to prove that you paid.
4.Checks are Good During a Power Outage
Most people have been in a store when the power has gone out and the registers have gone down. The credit card readers will also be down at this point, and the store won’t be able to process your transaction. At that point, you can typically only pay with cash. However, cash and personal checks will still be allowed in these cases. Remember, if the power is out for days, you won’t even be able to withdraw cash from an ATM. A paper check may become the only possible way for you to buy food and other necessities, especially in an emergency.
It may seem as though paper checks are obsolete but as you can see, they will serve a purpose in a number of ways. Hold onto your checkbook and make sure you have it in an accessible place in case you need to use it.