Ask the Readers: Are Checks a Thing of the Past? (Chance to win $20!)

Photo: Linsey Knerl

***Congrats to our winners! ***

Who writes checks anymore? Apparently, enough of us to justify large "No personal checks accepted" signs on restaurant doors, and services that verify that you have funds before your purchase is complete. Many of our small town grocers still take them, no questions asked — but times they are a-changin!

We want to know if you still write checks. If so, do you write them old school (filling out every line?) Maybe you just hand a blank one over to the cashier to be run electronically. Perhaps you've abandoned the practice altogether. Let us know if checks are still a part of your life, and you'll be entered to win one of two $20 Amazon gift cards!

Feel free to link to a blog post, if you're written on this topic! We'll include it in our post upon the conclusion of our giveaway!

Win one of two $20 Amazon gift cards:

We're doing two giveaways — one for random comments, and another one for random tweets.

How to Enter:

  1. Post your answer in the comments below, or
  2. Tweet your answer. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, May 17th at 11:59 pm CST. Winners will be announced after May 17th on the original post and via Twitter. Winners will also be contacted via email and Twitter Direct Message.
  • You can enter both drawings — once by leaving a comment and once by tweeting.
  • Only tweets that contain both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" will be entered. (Otherwise, we won't see it.)

Good luck!

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Guest's picture
Alexis

I ordered a box of checks when my husband & I got married so I didn't have to cross my out old address anymore...OURS was on there already. But have to admit after a couple cleared, the fun was over & went back to using the debit card or EFT's for just about everything. If I have to mail bills out, when I go cash our check, I get it in an official check so there's always a pretty reliable paper trail.

Guest's picture
Kathy

I only write checks for monthly bills where that is the only option, 3 per month.

Guest's picture
Sid Koudis

I still write checks for most of my bills, except a small few that I pay online. I never write checks at stores or restaurants.

Guest's picture
Sharon Altermatt

I quit writing checks a couple of years ago. Checks are expensive to buy and you don't need them for record keeping. Bank online and all your information is there. All banking is done electronically anyway, whether you do it or the bank does it.

Guest's picture
ryan

i write a check about once a quarter, for an odd non-recurring expense. it does have a purpose, though not as much as in the past.

Guest's picture
James Denman

Check in my mind are an annoyance, but I still write out about 9-12 checks a month. There are certain organization that don't accept credit cards or electronic payments. Then there are times when I don't have cash and a credit card is not an option to pay for an item. I know there may be fancy ways of avoiding checks in these situation, however, right now they seem harder to manage than checks.

Guest's picture
Shana

I've written one check in the probably the past year to pay a traffic ticket and the two I voided for my direct deposits. All of my regular payments and purchases are made through online bill pay(with my bank, they send a check for my rent), online payments, automatic debits, debit cards or cash. I'm still on the first checkbook I received with my account when I opened it about 4 years ago.

Guest's picture
Steve

I write a couple of checks per month - for a loan payment that I can't do online, and to give money to someone I share expenses with - unfortunately I haven't found a way to do that directly by bank transfer.

Guest's picture
Peggy

Yep, I do write checks. I pay monthly bills with an old-fashioned, handwritten check. I write checks at my doctor's office and the grocery store. At WalMart, I have to let them "electronically cash" my check instantly. I like the act of writing out a check because it makes me more aware of the cost.

Guest's picture
Dave

I sometimes need checks for rent. In the past I got away with electronically sending money to one roommate who wrote the check. I find that there is an awkwardly large amount of money that still needs a check. Down payments on cars, rent, and a few other things make checks still necessary and annoying. I cannot wait until my landlord starts using paypal.

Guest's picture
James

I'd say checks for vendors is certainly a dying or dead thing, but it's still nice to get a check from grandma on my birthday (even if it is only for $20) and sometimes it's just more satisfying to fill out a check and tear it off the pad then to click your way through an anti-climactic website

Guest's picture
Jess

I don't write checks at all anymore. I'm only on check number three of my check book and I've had the same bank account for five years. I use plastic or buy things over the internet. And coming from a cashier's perspective, getting bad checks is a big pain in the behind. I can see why they're falling out of favor.

Guest's picture
Jason

I am forced to write one check a month for my rent. For some reason this is all that the community will accept.

Guest's picture
Harrken

The only paper check I write is for my rent and the apartment management is working on setting up an electronic withdrawal. I got 150 checks when I opened my current checking account in 2000 and still have almost 100 left.

Guest's picture
Laura

I write checks for everything, and I do fill out every line. I even write them for "cash" for miscellaneous purchases. I tend to spend less when I write out checks, vs. using the debit cards. The mortgage is automatically transferred out of checking, as is one loan payment, and I pay our auto and home insurance on-line. Other than those, it's paper checks all the way - much easier for me to track spending and charitable giving that way.

Guest's picture
Amanda

I write checks for lots of stuff still, my internet service, my cell phone, my water/waste water, my electric bill. I don't think it's a hassle. I don't use checks for stores or restaurants though.

Guest's picture
Alexa

I write checks still. I find it easier to be sure I've paid my bills because of the process of writing things. I study the same way. Typing things out and clicking buttons isn't the same. The act of writing keeps things in my memory, so when I'm taking a class or needing to remember anything, I write down what I need to know, and often I don't even need to look at my notes again. But I just use them to pay bills. I don't bring them to stores. I use my credit/debit card for that.

Guest's picture
gina

I still write quite a few checks for daycare, bills, etc. I don't think that they will be going any time soon...

Guest's picture
Steve Spinks

Just a handful of my bills are paid via check. Most all bills are paid online, and my debit card is my main mode of payment.

Guest's picture
dee

Annoying check writer here madly waving my check at you (which i completely filled out myself even as the costco cashier keeps reaching for it, "we'll do that for you, we'll do that for you, we'll do..."). I still use checks at Costco, anything regarding my kid's school, my hair stylist who only accepts cash or checks (and who i only see once every year or two), the DMV,...

Guest's picture
Shel SWartz

Businesses add extra profit into their margins to cover the cost of professional bad-check writers and people who just don't care what their bank balance is. With all the free online payment options and debit cards, today (all free), not to mention the ecological waste of paper and he extra time people have to wait in the cashier's line, checks need to end now.

Guest's picture
saudade

I write a check for rent and pay everything else electronically. I will sometimes write a check at the low-tech businesses who don't take cards when I visit my tiny hometown. Otherwise, the checkbook stays at home.

Guest's picture
Guest

My mortgage payment is an automatic deduction from my checking account and the rest of my bills I write checks for.

Guest's picture
Mary

I use bill pay until our computer decided to die, it was brand new 4 and 1/2 weeks later and I had written almost 10 checks, I kept them in a secure place and was glad I had them and stamps and envelopes to pay our bills, no one refused our checks and they were deducted almost immediately from our checking account..I will still use checks just infrequently...any electronic device can die at any time, so checks are a convenient way to pay bills, pay for groceries and pay for prescriptions etc..long live checks!!!!!!!!

Guest's picture

Nice post but, it kills me every month. Unfortunately, i can not invest money only. but regularly audited by IRS or lose business, because nobody takes any money.

Guest's picture
Guest

what's a check? we've been using debit cards and on-line banking for over 5 years. I had issues finding a check to give my employer for my paycheck to be direct deposited.

Guest's picture
cristina i.

I dont write checks anymore. I use either credit cards , to accumulete rewards, or cash. I pay bills online, and only occasionaly I write a check for my kids' school or for church.

Guest's picture
Jen

We write 2 checks a month -1 to a small business in town - I would totally pay electroniclly but they are not set up for it. The 2nd check is to our church for offering... same thing - I would totally pay electroniclly if we could!

Guest's picture
Jaime

We tend to write checks for day care, and for contractors when we did some recent work on the house. Most wouldn't accept credit cards.

Guest's picture
Jessica Y

I still use mine occasionally for bills and just sending cash to people for presents. I actually receive more checks than I write- refunds, gifts, etc.

Guest's picture
Guest

I am from the old school; i write a lot of checks. When they are no longer accepted i'll go to a little used credit card, and pay it off each month. There's little protection from using a debit card, which i have, but rarely use. Also, i've been behind enough people using their debit/credit cards to know that there is little difference in the time it takes to write a check versus using the cards. If you believe otherwise, you need to slow down. Your time is NOT more important then mine!

Guest's picture
Chris

About the only thing I write checks for anymore is to my daughter's school. The majority of my bills are paid through online banking.

Guest's picture
jay

Checks seem so old fashioned these days. I honestly don't think I've written an actual check in several years!

Guest's picture
andyg8180

Wtih all the layers of security with online banking, its so much safer and faster to pay your bills. Plus you save paper and you dont have to worry about the "check in the mail" that magically doesnt make it to its destination.

Guest's picture
andyg8180

Wtih all the layers of security with online banking, its so much safer and faster to pay your bills. Plus you save paper and you dont have to worry about the "check in the mail" that magically doesnt make it to its destination.

Guest's picture
Christy

I write checks to my childs daycare and to her cooking class teacher. Most everything else is auto-draft, debit/credit card, or online.

Guest's picture
gt0163c

I write very few checks anymore. The ones I do are almost all for charitable donations. My church hasn't set-up a way to donate via the internet...yet.
I also find them convenient for paying friends or family for things. I don't keep a lot of cash around so, if, say my sister and I split the cost of a gift for Mom and Dad, it's easiest for one of us to write a check to the other.

I haven't written a check in a store in or restaurant in over a decade, probably longer as I prefer to use my credit or debt card.

Guest's picture

I live in a small rural town in New Mexico. Our local grocery store takes checks. So yes I do write checks when my son has the debit card. He is 17 and it seems like he has it more and more!

Guest's picture
Ben

I pay rent every month with a physical check and pay my college tuition with electronic checks (eChecks). Schools typically do not take credit cards without a service charge and physical checks can get lost in the mail or misplaced so echecks leave an electronic proof of delivery and chare, so there won't be any chance of losing a quarter's worth of classes due to a simple clerical error.

Guest's picture
Guest

Cash is King and Checks are Queen. Checks won't go away. Not yet anyway. How else are you gonna pay for something without the hassles that come with credit? And how you gonna pay that credit card bill? With a check. Checks are great because they hold the promise of money without actually having the cash.

Guest's picture
Guest

Cash is King and Checks are Queen. Checks won't go away. Not yet anyway. How else are you gonna pay for something without the hassles that come with credit? And how you gonna pay that credit card bill? With a check. Checks are great because they hold the promise of money without actually having the cash.

Guest's picture
jay

Checks are valuable because it is true not many people are approved for credit cards & it is easier too make payments on the go

Guest's picture
jay

Checks are valuable because it is true not many people are approved for credit cards & it is easier too make payments on the go

Guest's picture
Laura

Our church started electronic giving this year. We appreciate the convenience, and now write no checks on a regular basis.

That said, for something like getting a passport, checks were the order of the day.

Guest's picture
Guest

I write checks for bills and some services but I stopped using check at stores years ago.

Guest's picture
Ernest S.

Very rarely. Most of my check purchases are for my local handyman or bills that do not accept any form of electronic payment.

When I do fill one out, I do fill it out just like the old days. It does make me appreciate my credit and debit cards even more!

Guest's picture
marcine

I havent wrote a check in forever. I pay everything on line, much faster and cheaper.

Guest's picture
Jordan

I only write checks for rent and student loan payments. ING Direct does an e-check sort of thing, but I haven't used it yet... maybe I will resort to that when it comes time to order more paper checks.

Guest's picture
Toni

I write 1 check per month. It used to be 2. The one check is for rent. The other check I used to write went to a credit card. They charged a fee for paying online, and for paying by phone. I am not gonna pay extra money for someone to take my money. After the Credit Card Act was passed in February, I noticed that they now allow free online bill paying and I was so happy. I'm now down to my last batch of checks. This box has lasted me 7 years so far, and I do intend to order another box.

At one point the apartment management company took payments by credit/debit card which was really cool. After about a year, they stopped that. A note was sent to all tenants saying how they would have to charge either $50 extra to take a rent payment or a certain percentage of the total, depending on the card. Apparently Visa & MC were charging them extra fees and they had to recoup some of the money.

Guest's picture
Pamma

On average I suppose I write one check per month. Sometimes to my hairdresser other times for insurance. I haven't used checks for other types of bills for years.

Guest's picture
Kristie

I usually use my debit card. There are however a few places where I live that only take checks. I would prefer to only use a debit card however...easier and cheaper (don't have to order checks very often anymore)

Guest's picture

I write a check or two a month, on average. We're in a small rural town and a couple of places don't take cards and it's sometimes not convenient or feasible to have proper cash on hand. Also, with kids in school there are often field trip fees or club tshirts or book orders or fundraiser orders or other things that need to be paid for and a check is the requested or convenient option.

Guest's picture
sewingirl

I still write 5 or 6 checks every month. There are still lots of businesses in a small town that don't take debit/credit cards. Also the school (lunches) and church. And, strangely enough, my Hubbys life insurance premium. You can't pay online, so its easier to mail a check than drive to the office.

Guest's picture
sergio

i rather pay using my credit card to rankup my reward points but most companys want to charge fees to do that. untill then i''ll keep sending them checks. p.s. always pay your card infull at the end of the month.

Guest's picture
Kasey

Some great insights on the pros and cons of personal checks. We definitely use them less these days. But there are some good reason to keep using them! Keeping better track of your finances is one of them. Personal checks make you more aware of what you're spending. read more about it - http://tinyurl.com/266b79b.

Guest's picture
Tuhin Sengupta

I pay my rent check to my landlord every month!! Also I pay checks to my son's school, photographer and tutors.