AM I THE LAST PERSON WHO STILL WRITES CHECKS ?

check

Last weekend I was standing in a slow line at Home Depot patiently waiting my turn to check out. I had nothing else to stare at and I happened to notice that everyone in front of me was paying their bill with a debit or credit card. About half were able to do it in a timely fashion, the other half had trouble sliding their card in the right way, punching in their password , or trying to figure out how the cash back worked. When it got to be my turn I pulled out my checkbook and could hear a collective sigh from those in line behind me…”Oh,this could be days waiting” I imagined them thinking as I checked out. Was I that far behind the times that it was now a sin to write a check? I guess so. My own son laughed at me on a separate occasion that I used a checkbook to pay for items at a retail store, and I was buying the items for him, Thank You. When it comes to bill paying I had always used checks. It is easier to track and record in my opinion, but that opinion is fast becoming the minority, in fact it already is the minority. With mobile and online options taking hold, traditional checks represent only about 10% of all US payments. 26%  of people who responded to a survey wrote several checks a month, compared with 38% who said they never write personal checks. In the past five years, the Federal Reserve reports the use of paper checks in the US has fallen dramatically, from 35% to 15%. Well my technologically advanced wife now has us set up to pay most of our regular monthly bills online while I use the checkbook to pay the remainder. Gone are the days of painstakingly trying to balance the monthly statement, a feat in itself, especially if you tried to balance to the penny. It could take up to 2-hours to check off each check, and double-check your math, before finding out you were still unbalanced by over $200…very frustrating. I gave that up and now just go on-line to get my balance. Not surprising the vast majority of current check writers are 55-years or older, that’s where I fall in. I had always felt I could keep better control of my outgoing cash by writing checks and subtracting from the current balance giving myself a new balance. That turned out to be old world. The younger generation has the same use for checkbooks as they do for land-line telephones…basically zero. Sixty-one percent of people aged 18-24 never write checks. This often pisses me off though that younger people will make purchases of a slurpee and a candy bar and use their debit card. The total could be $1.19 and out comes the debit card. This really slows the line down. My next question would be “Am I the only person who still carries cash on them”.  That same 18-24 crowd who never write checks also never carry cash. In my opinion, “Cash is King”…no cards to slide, no writing of checks, and no waiting. Wouldn’t it be nice if people could carry $5, $10, or $20 around with them to make incidental purchases…especially at Starbucks, the debit card capital of the world. Workers (baristas) look shocked when I bring out a $5 bill to pay for my coffee, that means making change, they appear never to have seen paper money before. I can see the problems with time consuming check writing, but when cash is no longer accepted, I’ll cry foul. I can eventually get used to not writing checks but would feel terribly insecure not to have any cash on me for small purchases or God forbid, and emergency requiring payment in cash. Banks used to send all your processed checks back to you in the mail on a monthly basis for tracking purposes, but no longer, that has gone the way of the dinasaur. Now if I become super famous I won’t be able to sell my returned checks on e-bay as authentic signatures. I believe in the future each individual will just carry some device that can be swiped just by touching a screen and the transaction will be complete. Well, I’ve still got a checkbook even though it’s being used a lot less now and cash in my pocket…the next step is to learn how to check-out in those lines without cashiers where your responsible for scanning, bagging, and paying with just a debit/credit card.

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3 thoughts on “AM I THE LAST PERSON WHO STILL WRITES CHECKS ?

  1. You are not the last…your mother patiently pours over the bills and checkbook weekly. And I must admit, I write a check each Sunday for the church. Hang in! Grandpa Chuck

  2. I used a check to pay my friend back for cash-only tacos I didn’t have the cash for yesterday. It made me think of you and also made me laugh because it was pretty ridiculous.

  3. In the future, I have heard it said that carrying anything will be obsolete….we will have a “chip” in our wrist and we will be able to “scan” the wrist over something and the payment/transaction will be automatically done! Everything needed will be imbedded in the chip~

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