Personal checks are still widely used today, and for good reason! Personal checks have unique advantages and features that you don't want to miss out on.
Writing checks may seem old-fashioned, but lots of people are still doing it. There are many advantages to writing checks instead of using other payment methods like cash or cards.
With all the many payment method options available today, it's important to keep your options open to take advantage of the features each one has to offer.
We have more ways to pay for things now than ever and they all have pros and cons. Some payment options are more secure than others, some are easier to use than others, and some are best used in certain scenarios or certain places.
Cash is probably the most traditional and straightforward method. All you need is the right number of bills and change and you can make your purchases and be on your merry way.
It can also be easier not to overspend when using cash because the amount you have available to spend is more tangible. But cash isn't always accepted everywhere and when cash is stolen, it can be very difficult to get that money back.
Checks are paper slips that are tied to a bank account and authorize the check recipient to turn in that check to get the funds they are owed. They are like a small paper financial contract.
By carrying around a checkbook you don't have to carry cash that can be stolen and hard to trace. Checks are much more difficult for thieves to use.
But not all places accept check payments and it can be a bother for you to wait for check recipients to actually deposit the checks you've given them.
Debit cards are plastic cards that a card reader can electronically read and access funds from your bank account to make your payment. They are small and easy to carry around in a wallet, purse, or pocket.
Credit cards are another plastic, easy-to-carry-around card, but this one isn't backed by an existing account with existing funds like a debit card. Instead, it's linked to an account with a set amount of available credit.
This is nice for building up your credit score or having some extra credit to use for purchases. But this method can become a hassle when the credit use becomes overwhelming and you end up with large monthly, high-interest payments.
Many stores have store cards now. They can be like debit or credit cards but they are given to you from the store. Often they come with lots of perks for using the store card like exclusive discounts, sales, and store membership programs.
Prepaid cards are a type of debit card that isn't linked to your bank account the way a typical debit card is. Instead, you load money onto a prepaid card just like you would a gift card. It can then be used anywhere, just like a debit card.
These cards are nice to have because they offer the spending convenience of a debit card without having full access to your entire bank account. These set prepaid card amounts can help you budget and not overspend.
Money orders are probably the most similar to checks. They are paper, monetary contracts that can be used to pay someone. All they have to do is take that money order somewhere to get it deposited and get their funds.
Money orders are a very secure form of payment because the person giving the money order has already made the payment to the money order handler, like Western Union. so the receiver knows right away that the payment isn't going to bounce because the payment has already been made.
While some money transfers can be done in person at money transfer stores, electronic transfers or wire transfers can also refer to online payments, ACH, or direct deposits. These are when payments are made entirely online, digitally.
Wire transfers are very secure because one party is digitally sending the funds directly to another party's account. It's also often the fastest way to send money or make a payment.
Pay-as-you-go plans are probably the newest payment method available today. Different companies work alongside businesses to facilitate these programs so that customers can make payments in installments rather than all at once.
This can help the customer get the things they need sooner, like furniture they couldn't afford all at once. It benefits the businesses because more customers are able to buy when they want rather than having to wait and save.
All payment methods have pros and cons, but out of all these methods which are the safest to use?
What makes a payment method secure depends largely on the system behind the method you are using. For instance, how secure your debit card is will depend on the debit card provider and the safety system the provider has set up.
As an example, some credit cards can be really secure because they have all kinds of fraud protection if the card ever gets stolen. You can even oftentimes get your credit back for purchases you didn't make. But not all credit cards will have this feature.
So rather than picking one method as the most secure, what you want to do is research your payment method providers and see which ones offer the most security.
Most checks will come with the same number of security and safety features, making them great personal payment methods. In fact, if you aren't using personal checks then you might be missing out on some unique payment security features.
Sending a check in the mail keeps your money a lot safer than sending cash through the mail. When you have a check inside an envelope it can be very difficult for others to tell there is even a check inside.
But if you put cash in an envelope it can be much easier for others to tell there is money inside since bills have their own distinct shape, material, and color.
Checks are also less attractive to thieves than cash or cards. Checks cannot be cashed by just anyone, and that is too much of a hassle for a thief.
Thieves want quick cash and forms of money that are untraceable, and checks are neither of those things. Also, when you carry checks you don’t have to carry cash or cards on you, making you less of a target while you are out.
This is another reason why checks are safer than other forms of payment—they’re traceable. When you use a check the bank makes a copy so you can easily prove the payments you’ve made.
All the information you would ever need about payment is also written on your check and the underlying copy. With each check, you can know how much you spent, who you paid, when you paid, and even what you were paying for.
Another attractive thing about checks is the timing. It usually takes businesses a day or two to actually cash the check that you’ve written for them.
This means that you have a day or two to make sure you have the money in your account to cover the check. This can be risky to do, but as long as you handle your checks wisely, then you should be able to use this feature to your advantage.
When you get paid through direct deposit you need to have a bank account set up. But if you get paid with checks then you don’t need to use direct deposit or a bank account.
If you get paid with checks then you can just cash them, you don’t have to deposit them into a bank account or deal with electronic funds.
Every time you write a check you are simultaneously writing your own personal receipt to go along with that purchase.
These slips of paper can make budgeting super easy since you can keep those in your checkbook, and at the end of each week or month you can see an overview of all your spending in one convenient place.
Checks are also widely seen as a professional form of payment. If you are doing business as a freelancer, for example, one of the most professional forms of payment you can accept is checks.
When you are doing official business of your own, paying in checks is also considered the most professional and trustworthy way to make those payments.
There are so many ways you can customize your checks. Photo checks can include photos of yourself or your loved ones, scenic checks can display the views you love, and floral checks can decorate your checks with your favorite flowers.
There are numerous ways to stylize your checkbook to make finances more fun and personal.
If you have a small business then you might be interested in using business checks. Business checks will have the name and address of your business on them, indicating that this payment is being made by the business entity. For legal reasons, accurately recording business finances, and taxes,
Getting custom business checks can help legitimize your business, keep your business legally more secure, help make business tax filing easier, and help you keep a more accurate record of your business's finances. Just remember to set up your authorization so you can endorse the checks.
Since checks are one of the oldest forms of payment, they are widely accepted at most locations. You'll just need to make sure you don't get into a "cash only" line at the grocery store and you should be fine.
Check City offers convenient check cashing services for both personal and business check cashing needs. Whether you have a check written out to you personally, or to your business, you can get it cashed at Check City.
Check cashing services at Check City are also fast with minimal processing so you can get your check funds right away. We're also open most evenings so you can stop by whenever is most convenient for you.
Don’t waste your time thinking checks are a useless tool of the past. Checks are a useful financial product for personal and business use with their own unique features.
Checks also provide a level of security in your transactions that cash does not. So don’t forget about this important tool in your financial arsenal and learn to use checks to their full advantage.
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