6 reasons why you still need a checkbook
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You probably haven’t written a check in a minute. Some people under a certain age may never even have a checkbook. With Venmo, Cash App, Zelle, and other instant payment methods, the need to write a check is becoming less and less necessary, but there are still instances where a check may be the only option – or perhaps even the best option for your situation.
Check out these reasons why you shouldn’t throw away your checkbook just yet, and why you might want to get one (if you don’t already have one).
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Checkbooks are always accessible
Have you ever had a situation where the app you were using to pay just didn’t work? It kind of leaves you out of options and you may have to give up on whatever you’re trying to buy in the moment. While a check probably isn’t the best option for reimbursing your friend for lunch, it can come in handy when using electronic payment services to pay for things like rent and utilities. If your payment app of choice crashes on the last day of the month, you can still write a check to your landlord, bypassing the technical difficulties of other services. It can also work when an ATM is down. You can write yourself a check and go to the bank to get some money that way. Due to the physical nature of a checkbook, it has a few advantages when it works very well in an emergency.
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Checks are good for record keeping
When you write a check, you are essentially documenting that you paid for something. The check itself serves as a receipt. This can be important when paying for services, reimbursing someone for a loan, or pretty much anything else that could be challenged in court. You can always find a copy of your check from your bank in case you need to show proof of payment.
You can avoid extra charges
Some companies may charge a fee if you want to pay with a credit or debit card, or require a minimum spend. Stores usually charge fees for cards because they have to pay extra each time someone uses a card. These fees can vary from 1-4%, so the fee they charge you cancels it out for them. Writing a check is almost as good as cash, so merchants might prefer that to a card and not add a processing fee. Plus, you can save money this way by avoiding fees and filling your cart with items you don’t need to meet the minimum spend requirement.
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Not everyone has the apps
You’re going to meet people and businesses that don’t have the setup to receive money other than by check or cash. That’s not a ton of people, but 7% of Americans don’t use the internet. To pay people like that, or those who don’t have an app to receive money, you’re going to need a more analog method. If you don’t feel comfortable with large sums of money, a checkbook is necessary in these situations.
You can offer checks as gifts
Giving money as a gift can get lost easily, but when you write a check and give it to someone, if anything should happen to the check, you can contact your bank that it was lost and write some another. You may also be charged ATM fees for withdrawing cash, whereas a check will cost you nothing to write. Another advantage is that checks can also be mailed to friends and family securely.
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Canceled checks are sometimes necessary
If you choose to direct deposit your paycheck, some workplaces will require you to submit a void check in order to set up the transaction. Additionally, you may need to submit a void check for automated loan or bill payments. This is because a check includes your bank, routing number, and account number in the same place, but because the account holder writes “void” on it, it cannot be used. This is one of the easiest ways for your employer to set up payment, so it’s best to have a checkbook handy just in case.
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