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Are You Still Using Personal Checks ???

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Just wondering - if people here are still using personal checks or if you are using other banking  technology to pay your bills. 

 

Seems the dangers of using personal checks are becoming bigger everyday.

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Re: Are You Still Using Personal Checks ???

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I use checks only when there is no other practical method.

 

Otherwise, I prefer to pay "on line" using a credit card. Or in some special cases I will pay "on line" directly from my checking account, such as when paying property taxes or Federal income taxes.

 

In 2019 I wrote 23 checks in about 4 broad categories. I might expect to write about a dozen per year.

 

Some of those 23 checks were to very small businesses that don't have the capacity to accept anything else (it's either cash or check, and they may prefer check). While others were to larger companies (even a very large insurance company) that either have no ability to pay "on line", or charge a fee to pay "on line" by credit card (even debit card), or whose payment site is totally useless so I pay by check in the mail.

 

For a long time I thought I was doing my small doctors' and dentists' office a favor paying by check, thinking I was saving them the fee charged by credit card companies. But after discussions with a few bookkeepers it was apparent they preferred card payments due to their simplicity (it's all virtual, no paper) and that the perceived cost issue was not reality, because in reality there are potential costs to handling checks and their service pricing already accounts for bank interchange fees. So now I pay by card at these places, except for the one or two who mail a bill and have the non-functioning payment site.

 

Some years back I also preferred to pay in cash at the supermarket, etc. It was a way for me to meter out our budget. That's out the window now and I prefer to do as much as possible with a card (not that I chase "points" myself but my wife does like those American Express points). To me money is now just numbers in a spreadsheet. But I have enough discipline that this hasn't led me to over-spending as some studies have found with paying by card versus paying with cash.

 

 

 


@GailL1 wrote:

Just wondering - if people here are still using personal checks or if you are using other banking  technology to pay your bills. 

 

Seems the dangers of using personal checks are becoming bigger everyday. 


 

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Re: Are You Still Using Personal Checks ???

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The "other banking technology"

 

Short Summary:    my recommendation, especially for older people, is to "simplify and automate" as much as possible. It eases the mind, reduces chance for errors, removes possibility of missing bill payments. Use automatic bill payments as much as possible.

 

 

I was going to start a new thread with this point, then I realized @GailL1  had included this as part of her question. For years I have used other banking technology as much as possible.

 

I have all possible regular monthly bills paid "automatically" either from my checking account or by a charge to a credit card (get those Amex points again). Throughout many years of doing this (up to 25+ years of doing so) I have not experienced any problems with improper debits to my accounts.

 

These payments from my checking account include things like mortgage payments and car loans (when I had either of these), credit card payments, gym membership, utility payments for heating gas, electricity, water/sewer.  Entertainment charges as for news subscriptions, internet, streaming services (Netflix, etc), and monthly subscriptions are charged automatically to American Express or another card.

 

I need to clarify a point here. There are two main methods of making payments electronically. (1) Many banks provide a "bill pay" service where you log into your account on their site and then pay bills from your checking account directly to the vendor. Or (2) many vendors provide for "automatic" payments to be made to either a credit card or your bank account. Method (1) came about when the internet had developed sufficiently to support it, and consquently it is a relatively new method. Method (2) actually predates the internet and does not depend on the web.

 

I don't like Method (1) because, like writing paper checks, I have to manually take action, I have to remember to pay those bills, I have to sit down and take the time and mental effort to log in, locate the information, and manually pay the bill. This is not simple and automatic. I prefer simple and automatic. And that is Method (2), I don't have to remember or do anything, I just sit back and let the bill get paid automatically without any action on my part.

 

There is a bit of history to this. I almost missed a manual credit card payment back around 1994. The day the payment was due I had to go to the service desk at a supermarket and they were able to act as an agent for Mastercard so I could make the payment on-time. I had always paid my bill in-full, but being perhaps indolent or lackadaisical about it time was a concern. So right then I signed up for the automatic payments, they took my planned payment directly from my checking account every month thereafter (I had the option of paying in full, or minimum, or something in-between. I always pay in full). It was such a relief after that that I didn't have to worry about getting the checks written and mailed out, so nice.

 

Some people raise concern about giving other entities direct access to their bank account. I have to say that I have never had a problem with this since that time in 1994. I have had a few other banking problems, but none related to these "auto" payments. And the peace of mind that I have gained with the auto payments has paid more return than the worry of an improbable issue with the auto payments.

 

So when banks came up with "Bill Pay" via the internet I was not interested...it was not automatic (for the most part, unless you can set up the particular vendor) and I still had to take personal action. If I'm going to be careless about a paper check how is bill pay on a bank's website any better? (and I recall that banks used to charge for bill pay, probably not so now)

 

I do keep careful track of my bill payments and verify that they have been performed correctly and accurately. I maintain a spreadsheet ledger of my checking account and check off transactions as they occur and reconcile with the monthly statement (reconciling is another thing that seems to have become a lost art and thought of as unnecessary in the age of web banking...but I know from experience that banking/card errors do still occur).

 

In fact, my technique is that I populate my spreadsheet with all anticipated checking transactions for the year ahead. This is sort of a "budget" (I actually have a budget spreadsheet and the checking transactions are linked back to that). So I can see my historical transactions as well as projected transactions through the end of the year. As a transaction "executes" I check it off (and adjust the amount from the budgeted amount, if necessary) and it goes from being a projected transaction to a historical transaction. And then the account is reconciled each month.

 

 

 


@GailL1 wrote:

Just wondering - if people here are still using personal checks or if you are using other banking  technology to pay your bills. 

 

Seems the dangers of using personal checks are becoming bigger everyday.


 

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Re: Are You Still Using Personal Checks ???

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We use personal checks primarily for charities and family members. Our taxes are paid via check as are some insurances. 

 

What are the dangers? It's far more dangerous, I would think, to keep putting your cc info out there. We write checks sometimes simply to avoid adding our cc info to another website. We check our bank balance regularly and balance the checkbook to the penny, so it's really no different than checking anything else online.

 

We do all the 'regular' bills automatically.


"...Why is everyone a victim? Take personal responsibility for your life..."
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Re: Are You Still Using Personal Checks ???

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The last time I wrote a check was to the fellow who installed our new lawn irrigation system last August. Over the last several years, I have written a check once in a great while to those rare individuals who couldn't accept cards or weren't close enough to hand them cash - local Scouts for planting flags on major holidays or an aunt for subrenting a week on her time share.

 

As many as I can, I set up automatic payments from my primary credit card and pay the balance every month. They keep track of all my expenses and even categorize them so I can see where my money is going.

 

Our gas company is tied to my savings account, which is replenished by automatic payments I control from checking. I have my checking account transfer a set amount of dollars every month to cover our gas usage and then some, so I can also use savings for immediate unexpected spending for small items and even to help with paying auto insurance each six months.

 

Our electric company only allows payments on line through checking or for a hefty fee with payments by credit card through Western Union. I pay this one manually from my checking account each month. I have been waiting for many years for the electric company to join the 21st Century. I could set up automatic payments from my checkig account, but that would be too close to home and would set me up for overdraft complications, which I hate. I do not want any automatic payments to bills directly from my checking account. That would leave me with little control, as automatic payments directly from my checking account would leave me with no cushion against expensive overdrafts.

 

I pay the mortgage and credit card accounts manually on line from my checking account.

 

These things keep my spending plan very simple with my having to track only four or five standard monthly items directly in my checking register.

 

Enjoy!

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Re: Are You Still Using Personal Checks ???

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Only if I'm forced to.  My youngest is 13 and he's getting invited to many bar mitzvahs right now. I do write checks for those. Otherwise, everything is online or with a credit card.

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Re: Are You Still Using Personal Checks ???

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Ok, just last week I received the online amount owed on my Tel., Internet, Tv bill.  It was doulble the

amount I usually pay.!  Had I been paying on line, that amount would be automatically taken out my  account..

Knowing something was wrong, I waited until I got the bill in the mail in order to see where any errors occurred.   A.lengthy tellephone call was needed.and I got all apologies from the company with a gaurantee it won't happen again.  I'll stick with paying by check.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Re: Are You Still Using Personal Checks ???

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@JudithP526204 wrote:

. . . . .   Had I been paying on line, that amount would be automatically taken out my  account..

 

 

 

 

 

 


Actually you don't have to do it that way -

 

You have two options with automatic/recurring payments from your bank account and another using a credit card.

Clark.com - 02/20/2020 - Automatic Bill Pay: How It Works and How to Do It Safely 

(also read the comments)

 

1.   Online Bill Pay, is set up through your bank. You give your bank the information for the account you have with the payee (your cell phone carrier, for example) and the bank automatically pays them what is due each month from your checking or savings account.

You don’t need to give your routing number and account number to anyone because your bank initiates the transaction. That means your information is never provided to any third party and therefore isn’t at risk.

 

You choose the amount to pay (based on the amount of your monthly bill) and the date the payment is made. That way, you know when to expect that specific amount to be withdrawn from your account.

 

If you need to and are using a checking account to make the payments, you can set up an alert for before the date the payment is supposed to go through so you can be sure you have the funds available and avoid any overdraft charges.

 

2.   THIS IS THE WORSE WAY - With Automated Debit Transactions, you allow a payee to deduct money from your checking or savings account each month by providing your routing and account numbers TO THEM. The problem is, when you give authorization to regularly draft from an account, it is an open-ended arrangement, regardless of your contract with the company.

 

Another issue with automatic payments is that regardless of how much money is in your account, that charge is going through. If you don’t have the funds in there, you’ll end up owing even more due to expensive overdraft fees and any other fees the payee may charge.

 

 

3,  Another way is: Automatic Bill Pay Through Your Credit Card

You can also set up or pay bills using a credit card (and get cash-back or rewards if the card gives these perks)

 

Many companies now accept credit card payments online — a much safer alternative for automating your bills.

 

Credit cards offer far better protections for you as a consumer, which is why you should always use a credit card instead of a debit card for any payments that could potentially cause you problems — like any online transactions.

 

You can set up automatic payments through your credit card to pay each bill before the due date each month.  Then you pay your credit card off each month, of course after making sure it is correct,  with your bank's online bill pay.

 

 

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Re: Are You Still Using Personal Checks ???

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GailL,, thank you, but I'm past the age where I want to be looking at statements on line and keeping track of it all. Getting a bill in the mail and writing a check is easier. And, our post offices need the money ! JudithP526204


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I use them mainly for rent, the management company my landlord uses charges 3% for debit or credit cards or $10.00 for e-checks. I can think of much better uses for at minimum $120.00 a year than giving it to this company. I'm happy to write them a check and mail it, that costs me less than $10.00 a year. Other than that I pay a lot of my bills online because there are no fees for those bills and it doesn't cost me anything but a little time.

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