Over the past 10 years, the use of checks has declined significantly – but that doesn’t mean they’re obsolete. Rather, personal checks are still necessary in a handful of financial instances, particularly as backup for times in which a card or online payment can’t be made. If you’re considering not ordering another set of personal checks, think about the following points.
Not all payments can be made with a credit or debit card or electronic check. Although bill paying over the past decade has transitioned from mail-in to online, not all companies do this. For the instances in which you encounter such a company, be it a utility service, a doctor’s office, or a bank, be prepared with the right payment method, especially as ordering a new set of checks at the last minute can take one to two weeks to process and be mailed out. By this point, you might be late on paying a bill.
Aside from these instances, personal checks are ideal as backup in the event a wallet or purse is stolen. Although you may guard your belongings, such thefts can happen, and in any event, an individual needs to cancel his or her cards and report them as stolen. Otherwise, the thief may end up charging hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to your account.
But while canceling makes your cards invalid, and thus prevents them from being used, what are you supposed to do for the time being? A new credit or debit card may arrive in the mail, but this may take a few weeks. In the meantime, you are without a card and, unless you have a large stash of cash hidden inside your home or a backup bank account, personal checks are another option for paying for groceries and bills for the time being. While not every business accepts personal checks, plenty of them still do.
Rather than holding off on ordering personal checks, consider all of the rare instances in which you may need them. If your wallet is stolen or you’re required to make check-only payments for a loan, what will you do if you don’t have cash on hand? Think ahead and plan by having at least one checkbook at home.