Even a few years back, people used to carry checkbooks. In fact, some people had their purses designed in a way that allowed them to access checks easily. Today, people don’t carry checkbooks. Some can’t even remember the last time they wrote checks.
This consumer behavioral change is due to several factors, including the development of online shopping, the introduction of more convenient methods of payments, safety concerns, and the need to avoid fees that result from bounced checks.
It is more convenient to swipe a credit or debit card as compared to writing a check while shopping at retail stores. Many online stores only accept debit and credit cards. These options allow merchants to automate the payment process.
In this post, you’ll learn why you still need paper checks and how to use them safely. If you’re a business owner, we would suggest you check the different types of business checks you might want to consider.
Reasons for Using Paper Checks
There are many reasons for using paper checks. Sometimes it may be the only choice you have, or simply because it makes more sense. Whatever the reason, here’s how checks can be more convenient, secure, and save you money:
Some Credit Card Payments Charge More
Depending on the type of business you’re dealing with, you might be charged extra fees for credit card payments.
Government agencies and utility companies accept credit card payments, but only when the third party processors are involved. Third-party processors charge a fee for any credit card payment.
Some Businesses Prefer Money Orders or Paper Checks
Like it or hate, some businesses prefer checks as opposed to credit or debit card payments. Some government offices, insurance agents and companies, tradespeople, churches, landlords, and community groups, are just to name a few.
You Can Pay Even When There is Power Failure
Businesses use electronic equipment to process credit or debit card transactions. Checks and cash might be the only option if phone systems or power goes down in your area. Remember, ATMs might also be out of service, and so checks can save the day.
Some Businesses Require a Minimum Credit Card Purchase
Banks and credit card processors charge businesses a fee when consumers pay using a credit card. Some companies, therefore, set a minimum amount for credit purchases as these fees can largely affect small purchases.
Buyers with no other means of payment might be forced to buy an item they don’t need to meet the minimum. In such a case, checks can be a better option.
Checks are Trackable
If your recipient does not accept credit and debit cards, paper checks provide traceability that can’t be found from cashier’s checks, money orders, cash or automatic bill pay systems.
When mailing your check, choose your preferred mailing service together with a tracking method. If your payee raises any disputes over your payment, you can produce the mailing receipt.
How to Use Paper Checks Safely
It is essential to protect yourself from financial and identity theft when using checks. Here are the tips:
Always record your check usage in the checkbook register. Some checkbooks come with duplicate pads that leave a carbon copy of each written check.
Keep Them Safe
Ensure your paper checks are kept in a safe place. If possible, lock it in a drawer.
Write Checks Only When Necessary
When applicable, use cash or electronic payment systems for purchases and paying bills. Even if you’re dealing with a reputable business, a thief or employee can get hold of your check and may commit check fraud.
Mail Your Checks Securely
When mailing your checks, avoid leaving them in an unlocked mailbox for your mailman. Place your check envelope in a postal service mailbox, or drop it at the post office.
Keep Your Checking Account Information Safe
Be careful who you give your checking account information. If you are not familiar with a business (especially online businesses), be careful when making payments through an electronic checking account.
Be Careful What You Write or Print On Your Checks
Your check should include your name, address, and not your life story. You can add your phone number or your driver’s license number if a merchant asks you. More information paves the way for identity theft.
Check Your Account Transactions Regularly
Looking at your account balance is not enough. Check your transactions daily, if possible. If you notice anything suspicious, notify your bank.