Many people think of checks made of paper as being a thing of the past, but there are electronic payment methods such as Venmo, Zelle, and Apple Pay, but there remain some scenarios where it’s recommended to use them. In these instances, it’s better or safer to make use of a personal or a paper check, how to use cat checks in a safe manner, and when it’s acceptable to avoid them.
You may wish to write checks in any of the following circumstances:
- Shopping at a local business
- Giving money as a gift
- Tracing important payments
- You can protect your identity by securing it
Shopping at a Small Business
Because of their size and processing fees, a few small companies don’t take credit cards. A recent study revealed that only 27% of small companies prefer electronic payments (think debit or ApplePay) over traditional payments (cash or checks, as well as money orders). If you employ someone to cut your lawn, purchase products from a local grocery store and flea market seller, or even have the occasional dog walker, then you might be able to keep a checkbook at the ready to pay them.
If you’re in a hurry and are headed to an event like a birthday celebration, wedding, or other celebration of the family it’s likely that you’ll need to put cash into a credit card. However, when you’re giving money away as presents, checks may be better than cash. While both checks and cash can easily be lost when you are rushing to open presents, one is specifically addressed to the person receiving it and the other is not. This may help the recipient recall who gave them the cash.
If they place the money to the side and return it in the future, they may not remember who gifted the money to them. The gift of money through checks could help the recipient save the money instead of spending them immediately. You’ll need to go to a bank or use a mobile app to deposit or cash it, which will require some extra effort.
Tracing Important Payments
If you are making a major payment, such as a down payment on an apartment, a college tuition payment or deposit to secure a location for a wedding, or an installment to a federal institution like the IRS it is possible to make a check-in paper. It will ensure that your payment was accepted because it will be possible to track what the recipient of the check does when it deposits or cashes the check on your bank’s next statement or via your bank’s online portal. Some banks can even provide a photo of the cashed check to confirm that the transaction is correct.
This may even help prevent you from incurring any extra fees due to late transactions since they will all be dated. If, for example, your check is lost or stolen If you are unable to locate or retrieve your check, you can cancel your payment through the bank’s customer service line, or online through the bank’s website. For a stop payment to be placed on your check, you’ll need to select the “stop payment” option via the online portal of your bank. However, you have to do it prior to when the check has been cashed.
You might also have to enter your account number, the number of the check, and the amount of your check. Remember that you’ll likely need to be charged a fee to stop the check. The costs vary from bank to bank, however, you could be charged around 30 dollars to stop the checks and some banks may charge 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 2018, 14.4 million people in the U.S. were victims of identity fraud, to the tune of around $3.4 billion. In addition, that study revealed that more victims had to pay out of their own pocket to cover the cost of the fraud. In light of these statistics so it’s logical to want to keep your information safe, especially if you’ve previously dealt with similar issues.
A lot of people return to using cash or checks made of paper in lieu of swiping a debit or credit card at local stores. They might also choose not to enter their payment information on retail websites online or use online and digital payment options. While writing a paper-based check isn’t the most secure method to protect your personal information, keeping it offline and swiping your credit card less could reduce the chance that you are a victim of fraud, identity theft, and other financial crime.