Author Topic: Cheques / Checks!  (Read 6971 times)

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Ezeesee

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Re: Cheques / Checks!
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2011, 06:30:08 PM »
UK here, and and I've not used cheques for years. I have a cheque book somewhere, I've had it nearly 10 years and it's not even half-used.

The few shops in my area that don't accept cards have to be paid in cash or cash (or maybe even cash). I always prefer to pay rent and transfer money online, just seems a lot easier and more secure to me, and the idea of my wages being paid by cheque fills me with horror  :)

Maybe other UKers have different experiences, or it might be a generational thing? I know my parents use them every once in a while but it's still not more than once every six months. Does anyone remember a few years ago the government floated the idea of permanently phasing out cheques? There was a bit of an outcry so they took it back, but I can see it coming round again in 10 years and being passed.

Lady Snowdon

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Re: Cheques / Checks!
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2011, 07:29:11 PM »
US here -- I use checks to pay my HOA fees.  It's a very small HOA, so definitely no credit card/debit card system set up, and if I paid with cash, I'd be forever forgetting when I last paid them and how many months I paid for!  I also use checks for smaller vendors, as another person said.  (eg - Girl Scout cookies, Boy Scout wreaths, my aunt selling me things)  My mom used to write checks to herself to transfer funds between her bank accounts (one at a bank, one at a credit union - the systems did not like each other, so it was easier to just write checks). 

kglory

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Re: Cheques / Checks!
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2011, 10:36:01 PM »
I live in the US, and I agree with those who say that checks are becoming increasingly rare for actual businesses, like the grocery store or the McDonalds.  I tend to use credit cards, debit cards, or cash for everything retail.  For something like the grocery store, usually a credit or debit card.  For something like a coffee at the local coffee shop, or a greeting card at Hallmark, those little purchases, I tend to use cash.

But I personally choose to pay all of my monthly bills by check.  By monthly bills, I mean:  rent, cell phone bill, student loan bill, car insurance, cable TV, and maybe something else I'm forgetting.  I also make any "payments by mail" by check, such as a medical bill, or a charity donation, or that sort of thing.  The reason I prefer it this way is:

1.  Instead of automatic withdrawals possibly putting me in the negative, I am always in control of when I send in my payment.
2.  I have a paper trail to keep, and have a folder system to organize these receipts.
3.  Feels more secure to me.
4.  Puts me more in control of the entire process.

I have this feeling that, FOR ME, if bills were being paid online, I could easily lose sight of what was being charged and for how much.  I'm in my early 30's, so I'm very proficient with computers, but this is still how I prefer to do my finances.

The other thing to keep in mind is that we on this site are not exactly a representative sample of all citizens.  We choose to frequent an online message board for fun.  This means that we have computer access and are somewhat comfortable with computers.  For people who do not have a home computer, or have one to email but are not generally tech savvy (think elderly people, or lower income people), paying bills online would be hard to impossible.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2011, 10:38:16 PM by kglory »

Ceallach

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Re: Cheques / Checks!
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2011, 12:00:02 AM »
US here.

The only things I write checques for are rent and medical co-payments.  The latter could be put on my ATM card or credit card, but I track them through my checque register for tax purposes.  Landlords in NYC do not typically set up online payment because consistent late payment is one thing they can hold against you.  They also can have your checque in hand and delay depositing it if there is an issue regarding your tenancy.

I pay my other bills online and use the debit card in stores if I need to have cash on hand for miscellaneous small stuff like lottery tickets or anything that costs less than $10.

Does that mean you have to write a cheque for your rent every single month instead of it coming out automatically?  I would be so terrible at that.   :-[
   
I definitely see the possible benefits of being more 'hands on' with your money - e.g. you are consciously writing out payments, and balancing the chequebook, so tracking where you are at.   I think part of the reason they're not used here is because a cheque doesn't have the guarantee of money behind it, and they've moved more towards the instantaneous payments where there's immediate decline if there's no funds. 
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Gwywnnydd

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Re: Cheques / Checks!
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2011, 12:14:04 AM »
Does that mean you have to write a cheque for your rent every single month instead of it coming out automatically?  I would be so terrible at that.   :-[
 

US here. And I'm giggling a bit at your comment, only because I've just (like, in the past 3 months) managed to set up an electronic transfer from my bank account to pay my rent.
For the previous 20+ years I paid rent, I wrote a check each month.

I pay some of my bills (utilities and cable) electronically from my bank website, but medical bills/ credit card payments/ the babysitter still get paid by check.
I'm leery of having automatic payments set up, I've been burned a couple of times when a snafu meant the money wasn't there, and I hate paying overdraft fees =).

Ereine

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Re: Cheques / Checks!
« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2011, 02:24:25 AM »
But I personally choose to pay all of my monthly bills by check.  By monthly bills, I mean:  rent, cell phone bill, student loan bill, car insurance, cable TV, and maybe something else I'm forgetting.  I also make any "payments by mail" by check, such as a medical bill, or a charity donation, or that sort of thing.  The reason I prefer it this way is:

1.  Instead of automatic withdrawals possibly putting me in the negative, I am always in control of when I send in my payment.
2.  I have a paper trail to keep, and have a folder system to organize these receipts.
3.  Feels more secure to me.
4.  Puts me more in control of the entire process.

My monthly bills are automatic but they don't really need to be (though the student loan might not be possible because of my contract with the bank). Then I'd receive the bill and just pay it manually, like I do with more infrequent bills, I can't really understand how that can be different from writing checks, except I'll also have the paper trail online (and can print out receipts). I'm starting to be very curious about American online banking, it sounds very complicated. Wikipedia tells me that what you call direct debit is not at all what I thought it was and I'm a bit confused but apparently the European model of finance is very different (Wikipedia tells me this). Apparently what we do is called direct deposit ("In the United States, the Automated Clearing House") and how it works is that if I pay my rent bill online (by filling a form with their account information and a reference number, all that is included in the bill) I'll get a message that it's possible to set up direct deposit, do I want to do it. If I agree my landlords are informed and the money gets taken out every month. I can also decide that I prefer to retain the control but don't want actually have to remember to pay it every month so I can tell the bank to make the payment at certain times. That's different because that's actually just an easier way to many payments (if I decided that I wanted  enter all my rent payments in January I could do 12 transactions, all with different due dates or I could just to one transaction and say that I want to repeat it on the 5th of every month). Most accounts don't have the option of going into negative, if there's no money the transaction doesn't get processed and I'll get a reminder bill and have to pay the cost (though one of my banks has the option of sending texts or emails when the balance goes below a certain sum or if there aren't funds to pay an automatic bill).

It doesn't really matter who the recipient is, it always works the same way (though for direct deposit the have to allow it). If my landlord was a private citizen, they'd just give me their bank account number and I'd transfer the money, the same goes for all sorts of associations and daycares and such, they all have bank accounts anyway. And that way there's a paper trail, if for example a contractor took cash or checks you could be quite certain that it was because they weren't paying taxes.

Perfect Circle

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Re: Cheques / Checks!
« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2011, 03:58:44 AM »
I've written three cheques in the last few weeks - one to DD's performing arts class, one to the company that fitted our new front door on Tuesday and one to the boarding kennels where our dogs stay. It's the most amount of cheques I've written in a long long time.

What I find really annoying is when someone gives me a cheque. It means a trip to the bank and I really prefer to bank online. The nearest bank isn't anywhere near us either, so it's also inconvenient.

I bank online and use my debit card for pretty much everything. I have some cash on me always but really, it's getting used less and less.
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Larrabee

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Re: Cheques / Checks!
« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2011, 04:26:41 AM »

The other thing to keep in mind is that we on this site are not exactly a representative sample of all citizens.  We choose to frequent an online message board for fun.  This means that we have computer access and are somewhat comfortable with computers.  For people who do not have a home computer, or have one to email but are not generally tech savvy (think elderly people, or lower income people), paying bills online would be hard to impossible.


UK here, even elderly people, low income people, people wothout access to computers etc. don't really pay their bills by cheque much these days.  Some do but direct debit is the most common way by far.  The bills automatically go out of the bank account on a specific day each month and show up either online or on the next paper statement.  It doesn't require any further action after the initial setup which can be done by post, in person, over the phone or online.

camlan

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Re: Cheques / Checks!
« Reply #23 on: December 03, 2011, 05:52:23 AM »

The other thing to keep in mind is that we on this site are not exactly a representative sample of all citizens.  We choose to frequent an online message board for fun.  This means that we have computer access and are somewhat comfortable with computers.  For people who do not have a home computer, or have one to email but are not generally tech savvy (think elderly people, or lower income people), paying bills online would be hard to impossible.


UK here, even elderly people, low income people, people wothout access to computers etc. don't really pay their bills by cheque much these days.  Some do but direct debit is the most common way by far.  The bills automatically go out of the bank account on a specific day each month and show up either online or on the next paper statement.  It doesn't require any further action after the initial setup which can be done by post, in person, over the phone or online.

This type of payment is possible in the US and I'm sure many people use it. It's been available for decades--before home computers were common.

The problem is that there have been horror stories of someone setting up automatic payment with, say, their cell phone company. All goes well until they decide to cancel that account and move to a different cell phone company. The company cancels the account, but the automatic payment is not stopped right away. So the person calls their bank, asking for the payment to be cancelled by the bank. But the banks say they cannot do anything--even though the person who owns the bank account is telling them to stop this payment. It must be cancelled by the company making the charge. It can be months until these situations are cleared up. It doesn't happen to everyone, but it's happened enough to people I know to make me hesitant to do it.

I don't use those payments now because I freelance and my money comes in irregularly. I've never paid a bill late, but I can't always be sure that the correct amount will be there on the date that the company makes the charge. And in the past, when working for a company which did not offer direct deposit of our paychecks and which paid us weekly, I would sometimes not get to the bank for two or three weeks to deposit the paychecks. Instead, I go to the company website monthly and do a one-time payment from there. Works just as well and I have a bit more control of when the money is paid.

Companies certainly encourage their customers to use automatic payments. I get emails monthly from my cable company, the electric company. But I think the system in the US is still a bit too glitchy for me to trust it completely.
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Kikki

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Re: Cheques / Checks!
« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2011, 06:22:32 AM »
Sweden here.
I'm 43 and have never even owned a cheque-book. They were already going out of fashion when I was around 18-20.
People here use mostly debits cards or cash. Banking is online for the majority.
I usually have a little cash for buying smaller/cheaper things but I mostly use my debit card. It's connected to Visa but it has no credit at all.
My salary is directly deposited to my bank account and that is the only way to get paid around here. I think my first job with direct deposit was back in 1989.

I've been banking online for around 14 years now and there are as far as I know 3 different ways of getting your bills in there. You can get a paper bill/invoice with the recipient's bank account number so you can transfer the money, you can set up a monthly payment transfer (works if it is the same amount each month - very common with things like gym memberships or mortgage) or you can get an e-invoice.
All my larger and recurring bills (condo fees, electricity, phone, broadband, morning paper) are set up as e-invoices. I get an automated email when I get one so I just log in, look at the invoice and print it out should I want to and sort of just click OK to pay it. The way it is set up is that I usually get them a couple of weeks before they are due, or in the case of my condo fees three at a time, but when I click OK to pay them the money isn't drawn from my account until the day before the bills is due. Me like as I'm sure they get paid and on time! Paper bills can get lost in the mail or in the perpetual chaos that is my kitchen table...

I can bank on-line with an iPhone app if I want to, but I usually just use the iPhone to check my bank balance since to do that I only need a pincode. To actually do something on my account I need a digipass as well and I don't always carry that one around with me.



Yvaine

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Re: Cheques / Checks!
« Reply #25 on: December 03, 2011, 07:28:47 AM »
I too find it interesting that in the US people seem more reluctant to give out their bank details to friends/relatives so they can make direct payments to them.  I work 9-5 Mon-Fri and sleep in on Saturday mornings (the only time at the weekend when my bank is open) so very rarely go into a branch and I don't possess a chequebook.  If I owe someone money and it's more than I have on me in cash, eg. I owed a colleague £40 for our Christmas party, I just ask them for their bank details and transfer it to them online. 

In the US, I think mostly because of security concerns, many people will do this with Paypal. That way you can zap money to people but there's no paper involved.

Venus193

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Re: Cheques / Checks!
« Reply #26 on: December 03, 2011, 07:33:30 AM »
I too find it interesting that in the US people seem more reluctant to give out their bank details to friends/relatives so they can make direct payments to them.  I work 9-5 Mon-Fri and sleep in on Saturday mornings (the only time at the weekend when my bank is open) so very rarely go into a branch and I don't possess a chequebook.  If I owe someone money and it's more than I have on me in cash, eg. I owed a colleague £40 for our Christmas party, I just ask them for their bank details and transfer it to them online. 

In the US, I think mostly because of security concerns, many people will do this with Paypal. That way you can zap money to people but there's no paper involved.

My last company didn't pay electronically because their bank's system allowed vendors to take the money out rather than for the company financial department to go online to pay, the way I pay my personal bills.

I would never give my bank details to anyone.  I still know a few people who won't set up online bill-paying out of paranoia about security or other electronic snafus.

Venus193

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Re: Cheques / Checks!
« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2011, 08:45:05 AM »
Because bank details are too easily used for identity and other forms of theft.

When I pay my bills online I control how much I send to my credit cards, for example.  If I can't pay the balance in full (which I can't do at the moment) I control how much they get.  My utilities are a flat rate per month.   Nobody can take more than what I authorize and nobody can take duplicate payments.  Per an earlier post if I cancelled one of them they can't continue to take money.

Bank details to relatives would be even more of an invitation to theft.

camlan

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Re: Cheques / Checks!
« Reply #28 on: December 03, 2011, 09:08:39 AM »
[I too find it interesting that in the US people seem more reluctant to give out their bank details to friends/relatives so they can make direct payments to them.  I work 9-5 Mon-Fri and sleep in on Saturday mornings (the only time at the weekend when my bank is open) so very rarely go into a branch and I don't possess a chequebook.  If I owe someone money and it's more than I have on me in cash, eg. I owed a colleague £40 for our Christmas party, I just ask them for their bank details and transfer it to them online.  I've also done this when I've owed people money but won't be seeing them for a while and they need it back urgently.  In the UK you really can't do anything with other people's bank details *except* pay money into their account so most people don't have a problem with it.  I pay my  rent directly into my landlady's account and often put money I owe my SO directly into his account instead of getting out the cash as I tend to spend any cash I have on me!

For one thing, the ability to make an electronic payment from your checking account is usually an extra service that you need to pay your bank a monthly fee to use. At my last bank, it was $5 a month. Checks are much, much cheaper. I think I pay about $10 for a year's worth of checks. It's funny. You'd think electronic payments would cost the bank less, so they could make them cheaper than getting checks. But apparently not. The banks do push electronic payments on their customers, though.

And if I had someone's checking account number and bank routing number, I think it's possible to use that info to take money out of that account, or at least make purchases with the money in that account. There aren't the safeguards here that a PP mentioned, like the card with pairs of numbers that need to be entered or anything similar.

I think we will eventually get to the point that most of Europe and Australia and New Zealand seem to be at right now. I think the technology here needs to improve and security needs to be tightened up a lot. The trend is definitely more and more towards electronic payments. The big holdout really seems to be paying rent.

As I mentioned up-thread, my former "landlord" was a huge property management company, which owned and handled rentals in three states, involving thousands of tenants. When I asked if electronic payment was a possibility, no one in the local office knew. They did find out, but it took two days. And involved letting the management company take the money out of my account (see post above for why that isn't necessarily a good thing in the US) *and* they couldn't or wouldn't set a firm date each month to take the money out. It was going to be anywhere from the 1st of the month to the 10th of the month. They were clearly not set up to do this on a regular basis. So every month, they deal with thousands of checks getting mailed to them. It would seem to me that setting up some sort of electronic payment system would be to their advantage, but they clearly don't see it that way.

Add in that computer ownership and high-speed internet access are far from universal. And outside of major cites, there aren't a lot of internet cafes. If you don't have a computer of your own, your best bet is your local public library, where you can usually get a half hour or hour of internet a day. But we are constantly being warned not to use public or shared computers for sensitive things like banking, because someone could be looking over your shoulder and getting your password, or somehow hack the computer after you use it and get the info.

And there's a percentage of the population that simply doesn't have bank accounts. Either because they don't trust banks or because their credit rating is too low or they don't have enough money to maintain a minimum balance and don't want to pay the monthly fees that result. They pay by cash, or money order, or credit card.
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Re: Cheques / Checks!
« Reply #29 on: December 03, 2011, 02:01:09 PM »
I too find it interesting that in the US people seem more reluctant to give out their bank details to friends/relatives so they can make direct payments to them.  I work 9-5 Mon-Fri and sleep in on Saturday mornings (the only time at the weekend when my bank is open) so very rarely go into a branch and I don't possess a chequebook.  If I owe someone money and it's more than I have on me in cash, eg. I owed a colleague £40 for our Christmas party, I just ask them for their bank details and transfer it to them online.  I've also done this when I've owed people money but won't be seeing them for a while and they need it back urgently.  In the UK you really can't do anything with other people's bank details *except* pay money into their account so most people don't have a problem with it.  I pay my  rent directly into my landlady's account and often put money I owe my SO directly into his account instead of getting out the cash as I tend to spend any cash I have on me!

In Canada, last time I checked, you can no longer deposit money into someone else's account - I used to do that in person at the bank. Now if I want to pay back a buddy or a relative, I have to give it to them and they deposit it. It is a pain in the behind if the person lives far away from me.

Some banks also require ID or an account for *any* service they give. I can't change a five for laundry money anymore unless I have a driver's license or a credit card. Even my own bank asked for ID the last time I was there! Maybe I look like a criminal? :P
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