You may think of paper checks as a thing of the past now that there are digital payment options such as Venmo, Zelle, and Apple Pay, but there remain some scenarios in which it may be better to utilize them. Here’s when it may be more secure or more convenient to use a personal check, how to use checks in a safe manner, and when it’s okay to leave them out.
You might consider writing an advance check in one of the following scenarios:
- Shop at a small store
- Gifting money
- Tracing important payments
- Protecting your identity
Shopping at a Small Business
Because of their size and credit card processing fees, a few small companies don’t take credit cards. In fact, one study found that only 27% of small companies prefer digital payment methods (think cash or ApplePay) in preference to non-digital payment (cash or checks, as well as money orders). If you employ someone to mow your lawn, purchase goods at a local shop or flea-market vendor, or even have the occasional dog walker, you may be able to keep a checkbook available to pay them.
If you’re running out of time and are heading to an anniversary party, wedding, or other celebration of the family it’s likely that you’ll need to put money into a card. If you’re planning to give money as an offer, checks could be better than cash. While both cash and checks are easily lost in the excitement of unwrapping gifts, one is addressed specifically to the recipient and the other is not.
This will help the person receiving it be able to recall who gave them money. If they place the money to the side and return it later, they might not remember who gifted it to them. A check-to-payoff gift can be a good way to encourage recipients to save the funds rather than spend them in a hurry. You’ll need to go to a bank or use an app on your mobile to deposit the money or cash it, which can take more effort.
Tracing Important Payments
When you make a big installment for something like a down payment on an apartment, a college tuition payment as well as a deposit towards a location for a wedding, or even making a payment to a government agency, such as the IRS it is possible to make a check-in paper.
This can ensure that the payments were received as you’ll know whether the other person deposits or cashes the check in your bank’s next statement or via your bank’s online portal. Some banks will even give you a photo of the check that was cashed to ensure that it’s authentic. It could also prevent the payment of costs for late payments as the transactions will all be dated. If your check is lost or stolen, you can ask to change the date of your payment using the customer service line or online via the bank’s website.
If you wish to stop payment on an unpaid check, you’ll need to opt for “stop payments” or the “stop payment” option via the bank’s online portal. However, you must do it before the check is cashed. It is also possible to enter the account number, check number as well as the value of your check. Keep in mind that it is likely that you’ll have to pay a fee to stop the check. These fees vary from Bank to Bank, however, it could cost approximately thirty dollars for stopping the cheque, and some banks may cost more.
If You’ve Been the Victim of Fraud
Has your personal financial information been stolen or compromised? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. One study showed that in the year 2018, 14.4 million people in the U.S. were victims of identity fraud which amounted to a total of $3.4 billion. In addition, that study found that a greater number of victims were required to pay out of their own pockets to cover the cost of the fraud. Given these numbers, it’s only natural to prefer to keep your details safe if you’ve dealt with similar issues.
Many consumers go back to using cash checks or paper checks instead of using their credit or debit cards at local merchants. They can also refuse to submit their payment details on the internet at retailers’ websites or even use digital and online payment methods. While writing custom photo checks on paper isn’t a guaranteed method, keeping your sensitive information online and not using your credit card less could aid in reducing the chances of fraudulent identity theft, and other financial criminal acts.