Check writing is one of those financial services that seems to have not changed in decades. But, as with most things related to personal finance, the way people think about and use check writing has evolved a great deal. Checking accounts are an essential part of any good financial plan. Having access to a checking account is one of the first steps toward building a sound financial future for yourself. A checking account can help you monitor your cash flow, manage your spending and even help you build a savings account so that you have a reserve for unexpected expenses or emergencies. The role of checks in this process may come as a surprise if you’ve only ever known checks as an antiquated means of paying for things or giving someone money. A surprising number of people continue to use them as part of their everyday routine, either because they prefer them to other methods or because their bank doesn’t offer other services. Here we look at the role checks play in today’s modern world and why they are still important in our digital age.
Can You Write A Check In Blue Ink?
Not really, but you can use blue ink on a check. The United States Uniform Commercial Code states that checks must be in black or blue ink. But some people choose to use blue ink because it can help make it easier to read the details on the check.
Why Do People Write Checks?
1. Paying Direct Debits
Direct debits are often used by utility companies or other vendors when you sign up for a new service. They take payment directly from your checking account, using the funds in your account to pay the bill. This is convenient because it means when your bill is due, you don’t have to worry about writing a check to send with it. Direct debit also ensures that you won’t be late with payments and risk incurring fees or penalties as a result. But direct debits are also problematic because they can lead to overdrafts – if there aren’t enough funds in your bank account at the time of payment, it’s easy for them to go through anyway and trigger an overdraft. This will often result in additional charges and higher interest rates on any resulting loans, which can add up quickly over time.
2. Paying Bills
There are still many people who prefer to pay their bills with a check. Even though there are now apps that allow you to make online payments, many people feel more comfortable writing a check and signing it as opposed to clicking on a screen and verifying their identity. This is particularly true of elderly citizens who may have some reservations about the security of online payment options. Checks offer another advantage – they allow you to keep a record of your payments in your check register. It makes it easier to compare your checking account balance against what you’ve paid out, which can help prevent late payments or double payments.
3. Using As Cash
There is no question checks can be used for any amount, but may well be used for small amounts that would otherwise be awkward or inconvenient using cash or credit cards. For example, checks are often used at certain types of events where there is an admission charge, such as sporting events or comedy shows. This is often much easier than handling the cash itself and can also save you from having to carry around large amounts of cash on a night out in case you need an emergency cab ride home later on! In addition, checks can be used in emergencies when other payment methods aren’t available – such as situations where there isn’t time (or funds) for a buyer card transaction or ATM withdrawal before closing time at the grocery store!
4. As A Record-Keeping Tool
Even though checks may seem to be going the way of the Dodo bird when you look at the statistics, they are still regarded as an important record-keeping tool by many people. Some shopkeepers, for example, prefer to receive checks because they can hold on to the check itself as an added record of payment. This means they don’t have to keep checking your receipts over and over again in case you’re trying to defraud them. Other shoppers prefer it because they find it a useful shopping aid – especially if they use a debit card or other payment method that doesn’t give them any kind of receipt at all, so there is no way for them to reference their purchase or check exactly where their money went!
5. As Gifts
Whether you know it or not, giving someone a check as a gift is not only possible but increasingly common. There are now many online retailers who will allow you to purchase gift cards in various amounts and send them via email directly to the recipient – which makes check gift giving much easier for people who don’t want to have to go out and make sure you get what someone wants! This can also save time because you won’t have to run around hunting down a suitable present that isn’t too expensive but still gives enough value. It may only be available via internet shopping sites but this service is growing in popularity so if you haven’t tried it before, this is an idea that you might like to consider.
6. As A Conversation Starter
Believe it or not, checks are still being actively used for one of the original purposes for which they were invented – as a conversation starter! Yes, some people believe that writing a check for their purchase in front of the seller allows the seller to get to know them more than if they just handed over cash! And many people take advantage of this by making sure their checkbook has at least one very distinctive and memorable check in it – such as a novelty cartoon character one, or simply writing something on their checks using non-standard colors or fonts. Some people even take advantage of Visa’s and Mastercard’s ban on signatures by drawing interesting pictures on them instead! The result is that the recipient will often remember buying something from someone who wrote such an interesting check in front of their face – which is certainly memorable enough to be called conversation starter material!
How Do You Use Checks?
1. A Shopping Aid
The most popular reason for using checks is for payment by the American public, especially in stores. They often find it useful to have a record of what they bought and where they shopped, so they use their checkbook as a shopping aid. This is especially true if they are the sort of person who uses cash or debit cards and doesn’t get receipts from their purchases!
2. Personal Checks
It’s not only businesspeople who use checks – anyone can write them if they want to make sure you have a record of every penny that you spend. It’s better than credit cards (which aren’t represented on your bank statement) or even cash (which can disappear without a trace!) because each time you use it, there will be an entry in the check register that shows exactly how much you spent and where you spent the money – which means it is impossible to lose or forget about any transaction that was made with your check account! Some people also like to keep their accountants very happy because keeping records like this means tax time is much easier – and less stressful! So using checks as a spending aid makes sense anyway, whether you are a businessman or not!
3. Saves Time, Toil & Trouble
The main reason that people use checks is not so much because they want to plan their spending each month – although that’s a big plus – but because they simply want to save time when they pay bills or make purchases. After all, if you have to go and withdraw cash from an ATM every time you spend money, it’s going to take quite a long time – and getting back into your house is going to be tricky if the ATM is located outside your bank building! So writing out a check if you are on your way home already saves both time and effort. And keeping on top of which checks have been written also means that you don’t keep paying for something after you’ve already bought it – so having a record of every transaction in your checkbook makes for good paper management as well!
4. A Safety Measure
Another major reason why people use checks has less to do with the money and more to do with the fact that checks can be used as a safety measure. Many people like buying valuable items on credit, which they then pay off over some time. They use their checks to make sure that they are paying the right amount and on time – and if you have any concerns about this sort of thing, you can always write one for small transactions at first and then cancel it afterward!
5. A Matter Of Convenience
Writing checks is often seen by businesspeople as a matter of convenience rather than necessity. They are perfectly willing to take credit card payments or sell products in exchange for cash – but many people prefer the security of checks because it means they can see exactly how much business a store has done from opening in the morning until closing time – which makes tax time a lot easier for them! And many shoppers find ordering expensive items on credit cards convenient as well because most businesses will offer extended payment plans, which means you only pay what you need each month rather than having to write out a check every week or month.
Why Are Checks Still Important?
Even though most people nowadays use electronic forms of payment instead of checks, there are still a lot of advantages to using checks instead. For one thing, you never have to worry about running out of cash or your card coming up as declined when you make a purchase; even if your credit card has sufficient funds in it, it can be a long and irritating process to try and convince the salesperson that yes, you do have money in your account. Checks are an easy way to stay on top of your spending because once you’ve written them out, they can’t run out – and if you want them to last through the month, whether for yourself or someone else – writing out a check is almost always faster than filling up a credit card with more funds!
Another major plus for checks is that there is strong protection for consumers when they are buying on credit rather than paying with cash. When you use your checkbook to buy something from a store that carries expensive items on credit over an extended period, it is often possible to call the bank ahead of time and set up automatic withdrawals each month – so if there is ever any problem with payments, you can pay with a check instead and not have to worry about missing a payment or having the credit card company charge you extra fees, which is always a great deal for consumers!
3. The Future Of Checks
The future of checks looks bright and hopeful – even as more and more citizens are moving towards electronic forms of payment, they are also pushing banks to speed up the process of depositing checks and safely transferring them between banks. Even if people aren’t using checks to make daily purchases in stores, it’s still nice to know that if everything goes wrong with your credit card or your bank account is hacked into, you can always fall back on good old-fashioned paper and ink!
4. For Individuals
Individual check writing is a convenience to help individuals who do not use credit cards, or who would rather not use credit cards. We can purchase items, pay our bills, and send money all without a single charge being assessed to our accounts.
As you can see, there are a lot of factors that go into choosing the right checking account and writing the best possible checks. Make sure to do your research and choose the account that best fits your needs. Check writing is an important part of any sound financial plan. Having access to a checking account is one of the first steps toward building a sound financial future for yourself. A checking account can help you monitor your cash flow, manage your spending and even help you build a savings account so that you have a reserve for unexpected expenses or emergencies.