TMCnet Feature
January 20, 2022

Checks: Why This Archaic Payment Method is Still Loved By Many

In an age of online banking and cryptocurrencies, many see more traditional types of financial transactions as entirely outdated.

However, in spite of the rise of digital alternatives, cash money is still used widely, and more surprisingly still there is a lot of enduring support for checks.

So what is allowing checks in particular to survive long past their apparent obsolescence? Let’s look at the factors that are influencing this trend.

Online ordering is empowering users

Back in the day, most people would rely on a check book issued by their bank. This wasn’t always ideal or especially convenient, yet it was the only option for the average individual.

Today, the internet offers a lot of places to order checks online, with each service delivering the same security and reliability as bank-issued checks, without the downsides of being beholden to a single provider.

In this sense, technology is perpetuating the usefulness and appeal of checks, rather than stymieing this payment solution. It’s yet another example of the digital and physical worlds working in unison, not in opposition.

Security is ensured

While crooks might try to steal cash or clone your payment cards, the same strategies aren’t applicable to checks.

Thieves tend to avoid nabbing checks because they are of limited use, while also creating a paper trail that indelibly links them to their victims.

Likewise when you want to send money in the mail, checks are better than cash because it is impossible to tell whether an envelope contains one, and the same cannot be said of a wad of bills. This convenience and discretion goes a long way to propping up their popularity.

Speed isn’t always a good thing

When it comes to making payments digitally, we’ve become used to being able to have access to cash in our accounts within seconds of it being sent. This is obviously ideal when it comes to things like getting paid by your employer, but might not be great if you are the one doing the sending.

Checks, on the other hand, allow you to provide payment for goods and services without expecting the sum to be withdrawn from your account immediately.

In particular if you pay a business with a check, this probably won’t be cashed for a couple of days. So if you’re actually a little short right now, but expect to have enough money available to cover the check soon, this little delay could play into your hands.

Obviously this speaks to a time before people were able to manage their money from their smartphones, and there was less certainty about account balances, incomings and outgoings. However, in a pinch a check could be a boon for its sluggishness.

A degree of anonymity is achievable

Right now the rise of cryptocurrency is partly down to the anonymity that decentralized finance offers its users. Lots of people are becoming wary of using bank accounts and fiat currencies, because of the ease with which these can be tracked and traced, and crypto offers an alternative.

In this sense, checks are somewhat similar, since you don’t have to have a bank account if you want to take payment through this method. Cashing a check allows you to stay relatively off-grid, without needing to necessarily request that everyone who pays you do so with cash alone.

Ultimately the heyday of the check has been and gone, but through a mixture of the old-school appeal they offer as well as their links with modern, digital services, they are set to remain relevant for some time yet.

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