The Writing Free Check

I don’t write too many checks anymore.  Most of our bills are paid electronically.  We use our debit / credit card for most of our purchases (paid in full every month of course), and use cash sparingly.

The times I find that I write checks are for things like:

  • paying property taxes
  • paying for services around the house that don’t take credit
  • charitable contributions (even most of those are going to credit these days)
  • paying family members back

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve paid for anything in a store with a check.  So, imagine my disappointment when we were at Wal-Mart a couple of weeks ago, and I saw the person in front of me pull out her checkbook.

My thought: “Oh, great.”

Then I saw that she was just standing there while the cashier rang up her items.

My next thought: “Wonderful.  She can’t even bother to fill out the Date, To, and Signature fields.  This is going to take forever.”

At the end of the transaction, after getting her total, I was surprised when she just handed the cashier the blank check.  The cashier scanned it into some sort of device, waited a few moments for approval, and then handed the check back to the woman, who walked away.

Apparently, this technology has been around for awhile, and works the same was as a debit card, where the reader pulls the information from the check, verifies the funds, and does an immediate electronic fund transfer.

Cool stuff.  I still think a debit / credit card is easier.  After all, not every store has this technology so chances are you’d still be writing out a fair amount of checks assuming this is how you pay for things.  Second, even for the stores that do, you’d end up with a bunch of blank checks sitting in your wallet or purse that you’d have to shred / discard / reconcile somehow.  Again, cool stuff, but it still seems a hassle.

4 thoughts on “The Writing Free Check”

  1. Thanks for the kind comments, MB. I was actually expecting negative comments but I was relieved to read your sympathetic comment. Anyhow, I can't believe Little Beagle is already 14 months old, though! Is he already talking (barking)? I have no doubt that you and Mrs. Beagle will be positive role models for Little Beagle. With respect to your post, though, I had no idea Walmart was so high-tech. I agree with you, though, that using a cc or debit card is easier. It probably has better protection too.

  2. Little Boy Beagle is walking like a champ, but he hasn't started talking yet. Well, to clarify, he is babbling, but not yet in words that we understand. Probably close, though!

  3. My son worked at a retail store that did that type of check transaction in 2005! I'm surprised it hasn't become more common.

    I don't even use checks for my property taxes; just pay those online at the county website.

  4. That's cool, Bucksome. Our city offers that but there is a 'convenience fee' to pay anything online so I write a check and drop it in the drop box at City Hall.

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