Once upon a time, personal checks were commonplace. Our grandmothers would send us $5 birthday checks, or we would regularly get stuck in a long grocery store line behind three people who insisted on writing checks as slowly as possible. Today, however, we are more likely to see someone pay via credit card, PayPal card, or even with their phone. A large majority of purchases are made online, without the need for a single piece of paper, or even a signature. This leads us to wonder: are we now witnessing the last dying throes of the personal check era?
Despite the fact that you can now swipe cards on cell phones and buy an entire new wardrobe with the click of a button, at some point in their lives, everybody will come across a situation where they need to pay with cash and they don’t have any. Whether you need to pay the babysitter or your teenage son wants to borrow some money right away (and you know better than to lend him your card!) personal checks fit into any of these scenarios perfectly.
Another more lasting reason to make sure that you have a checkbook somewhere about you is the simple fact that it will be easier to keep track of where your money is going. Few people keep receipts from every purchase they make with the swipe of a debit or credit card; even fewer write down every penny they spend. When you write a check, however, you get to keep the yellow copy right in your checkbook. This makes balancing your checkbook so much more manageable, especially when you use your personal checks for major payments such as rent, phone, or electric bills.
Consider also that while your card may not be accepted everywhere, most businesses will take personal checks. Even if you make a habit of keeping some cash in your wallet most of the time, you could still be in for a shock at the register if you discover you had less cash than you thought you did, and the cashier is waiting for you to pay up.
So before you start scanning the obituaries for a sign of your long-unused personal checks, consider digging those babies up and taking them for a test run. If you don’t have any, you can get checks from your bank, or you can order personalized checks from one of dozens of stores or websites. Order yours today and see why over 30 billion personal checks are still written every year.
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