And here’s another reason checks suck.

A friend of mine’s Facebook status message reminded me to develop this post. He may not think that this was sitting in my Drafts for a couple of weeks now, but it really has been!

Can we all agree that the check is to the finance industry as the cassette tape is to the music industry? It’s a dead technology! Yes, at one time, it was revolutionary. But it’s inconvenient, better money-swapping systems are in place now, and the biggest flaw of all is that the check relies on other human beings to take an action before the transaction is complete. In other words, you have to politely wait for a person to physically go to a bank and deposit the check and then you have to wait for more humans inside that bank to process the check. FAIL.

And what if something happens to the check that’s completely out of your hands? Checks get lost in the mail all the time. They’re easily forged or faked and if you even ask a retailer if they take checks, you get blank stares. Restaurants don’t even take checks anymore. They’re like, “Haha, nice try asshole. You’d have been better off if you dined and dashed.”

In this day and age of instant gratification, taking days or even weeks to have money taken out of your account is absolutely agonizing. When people used to write checks at the grocery store, they probably thought it was the most convenient thing ever because they didn’t have to take time out of their day to specifically go to the bank, guess at how much they needed to spend on food, take that money out, and then shop with it.

And why are checks still in existence? One reason. To pay rent.

Honestly, between debit cards and PayPal, I have no idea why it’s necessary for any of us to pay rent via check now. That’s the most galling thing ever. How come there is no solution for landlords to accept PayPal? If I were a landlord, I’d totally sign up for that shit. I’d tell all my tenants that hey, I don’t need to conduct a thorough credit/background/cavity check; if you have a PayPal account, it means you’ve gone through some legal system to prove you have a checking account and you can pay me rent. Plus, then it’d save ME from having to go to the bank and physically deposit checks. And let’s be honest, who has time for that? I have tweeting and Facebooking to do.

In all seriousness, the lack of common courtesy by most people to go to the bank and quickly cash personal checks is one of the most aggravating things on the planet. The issue is only exacerbated when a person asks you to pay them right away or sets a deadline and then that person sits on your check for weeks. Granted, if you keep up your balance book or can constantly deduct the amount from your checking account when you log in to check your balance (as I do), you’re okay. It doesn’t take away the aggravation, though.

If you have money to burn, you don’t worry about this at all. You’re one of those people we hand-to-mouth people detest because you’ll say things like, “Oh I never even noticed that my check hadn’t cashed!” Shutup.

Someone needs to FIX THIS and figure out a way for us rent payers (mortgage payers too? I have no idea) to use PayPal or something equally instantaneous and gratifying. Lastly, do you know how long it takes me to go through a single BOX of checks? Years. I just switched to a new box that finally has my correct address on it after three years of it having an address I lived in for a mere six months. Ridiculous!

If someone has an idea on how to overhaul this annoying process, I’d love to hear it. Death to checks!

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Comments

  1. I paid my mortgage online for 3 years. Now I’m back to the check for rent and it is super annoying. Sometimes, I just get a cashier’s check because then I don’t have to do the math for days after I write the thing. Paypal would be amazing. Let’s start a revolution!

  2. Ohhh so you have to have a mortgage to get up to the echelon of paying online? Yeah, we rent payers demand better money-giving service! My dad solely does cashier’s checks – but it still requires going to the bank!

    I may look into this – I can’t believe PayPal doesn’t have a system in place yet. Thanks for reading, Erin!

  3. PayPal charges a fee to the receiver, so I know if I were a landlord, I wouldn’t accept it. HOWEVER, you can make your landlord a payee in your online banking and they’ll send him/her a check from your account. The plus side? As you know, it automatically deducts the amount from your checking account within 24 hours, regardless of how long it takes the payee to cash it. Ask you landlord for their address and let them know you’ll mail them a check.

  4. Sweetness! Good old Scott, always with the solution.

  5. OMG great post again! Soooo right on!

    Here they only accept rent through wire–no checks allowed! It’s awesome.

  6. This is now an old blog post but it’s more true than ever. Imagine my frustration that someone actually told me that “You should use caution when paying vendors via credit card.” Maybe we should start paying via BitCoin.

    • I was behind someone recently using a check and it was agonizing how long it took. I guess ice just become too impatient to use the old-fashioned methods and throw my caution to the wind with the newer and faster ones.

  7. More reasons checks are awful: check holds, bounced checks, and the information that’s on a check.

    Because there is so much check fraud out there, financials implement policies to protect themselves by putting holds on certain checks. In some cases, you can be waiting 15 business days before the funds are released in your account. That is about a week sky of one month. If you are able to convince a financial to release a check before it clears and the check bounces, you are SOL. That bounced check is your responsibility, not the person who wrote it. You have to pay the amount of the check back plus a bounced check fee. Sure Paypal may have a fee for receiving funds, but I’ll take those fees over disputing and dealing with a bounced check any day.

    If you lose your check, you might as well open a different account at your financial. That lost check has your name, your financial’s name, routing number, account number, and (most likely) your address and phone number written right on the front! You’d be surprised what fraudsters can do with only the first four. Of course, you could put a stop payment on the lost check, but that will cost you a fee.

    Checks had their place as a popular means of monetary exchange, but not anymore. It’s because of this, I’m convinced checks will be non-existent in the US within the next 10 years.

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