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|Are Checks An Archaic Financial Tool?|
|Personal Finance - Banking|
|Written by Dave Hilton|
Wonder Woman Checks From Checks Unlimited (NOT An Affiliate Link)
When was the last time you wrote a check? I couldn't even remember the last time. It was only thanks to my bank's easy online search feature (saved me at least an hour of searching through statements) I figured out it was June of last year.
I don't even have a checkbook anymore. However, my wife keeps checks on hand (featuring the M&M characters) for our combined account to pay for field trips, activities and other miscellaneous school expenses for the kids (for some reason, the school and PTA haven't completely joined the digital revolution). So, on the rare occasion I actually need a check, I just ask her for one of those.
Apparently, ours is a typical story. According to a recent story in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, new information from the Federal Reserve says the number of checks processed in 2011 dropped 17%- the largest drop on record. Banks only processed an average of 25.3 million checks. The Fed says that's only 1/3 the number of checks processed just 20 years ago!
I don't know what it's like in your area, but there are a bunch of stores and restaurants in our area that won't even accept checks anymore without you providing your fingerprints, complete family history and a urine sample. Speaking of urine samples, most of my doctors have stopped taking them as payment, too. Too many service providers have been burned or ripped off, so they don't even want to take the chance anymore. Can't really blame them.
What was it like when you got your first checks? I remember how excited I was when I opened my first checking account and received my first set of cool checks (I think they were Superman) and matching checkbook in the mail. I was so proud of them and showed them off to everyone. I felt so grown up. I guess our kids get to feel the same way when they get their first debit card. Perhaps our grandchildren will get a similar feeling when they receive their first PayPal micro-implant?
It's still hard to believe checks are going the way of 8 Tracks & Cassettes, Beta & VHS Tapes, Bag & Brick Phones and...well...you get the idea! One of these days we'll probably be sitting in our favorite hover chair (my idea of the rocking chair of the future) telling our grandchildren about how we used to pay for things by signing pieces of static paper with pictures of our favorite TV Shows, Movies and other characters on them. Oh, the good 'ole days.
So before we get too old and senile to appreciate our archaic paper-based payment system, let's have some fun reminiscing about our recent history. What themed checks and checkbooks have you had? Share your favorites in the comments!
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