Paper checks might not have many uses but in some ways they’re still a necessary evil.
By Qiana Chavaia, Wise Bread
People are beginning to think of paper checks as nearing their death. But, could they possibly still have good uses?
According to a GoBankingRates survey, 37.8% of respondents revealed that they don’t write checks and only 16.1% said they write checks at least once a month. Paper checks are especially unpopular among younger generations. Nearly all Millennials polled responded that they “never” write checks — roughly 95.7%.
However, here are five reasons why you want to hang on to a book of paper checks. They just might still be relevant.
1. Bridge Cash Payments
Some smaller retailers simply will not or have not adapted to modern payment methods, like PayPal and for cash payments. Of course, you can always keep your debit card handy, assuming the cash is in your account at the moment of purchase. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way with money, and you might need a day or two between transfer times. Paper checks are a great way to bridge cash payments during transfer times, although this is risky, and not a practice to make into a habit.
2. Making Housing Payments
Although many large commercial properties have adapted to innovative technology that allows tenants to make payments online, many smaller landlords have not. Furthermore, many don’t have plans for accepting online payments and will only accept deposits and rent in the form of paper checks and/or money orders and cashier’s checks.
3. Avoiding Fees
Money orders and cashier’s checks are costly — averaging anywhere from a couple of bucks to $10 for a cashier’s check. That’s a waste of money, especially if you’re in the at-least-once-a-month camp. Not to mention the waste of time it takes to run out to the bank and/or store to pick them up. Intelligent money starts with streamlining bill payments and savings processes. (See also: 5 Online Tools to Manage Your Money in Under 10 Minutes a Week)
4. Stopping Payments
When you need to make a stop payment on a check, it’s as simple as contacting your bank and making the request. Some banks charge as much as a $25 to $35 fee for stop payments. However, there may be instances where you need to cancel a payment and it’s just not an option with money orders and cashier’s checks, where the payment must be made once it’s properly presented at the issuing bank.
5. Keeping Better Records
Paper checks are linked directly to your bank account and records of them are kept on file. This isn’t the case with money orders and cashier’s checks, where you have to hang on to carbon copy receipts as proof of payments (those carbon copies get worn out and become illegible after a while). With today’s sophisticated banking technology, you can easily download copies of checks written from your account as PDF files.
Do you still use paper checks?