I write just one lonely paper check per month. My landlord is the lucky recipient of said paper check, and I write him this paper check because I usually hand it to him in person. I could have my bank, Charles Schwab, send out a check each month to him without me even having to do anything, but I like the act of paying the man directly for his house, as he worked really hard on fixing it up before I moved in. All of my other monthly bills, from Charter Cable to AT&T to my local utility companies, are charged directly and automatically to my Amtrak Rewards credit card each month, and I have four automatic payments sent to the card each week which pay off the total of my bills for the month. This method helps me out in several different ways:
- My bills are never paid late, even if they get lost in the mail. (Granted, I don’t even get paper bills anymore, but you get the idea.)
- I get miles in my Amtrak account, and since traveling by train is my favorite way to go, this helps get me free tickets.
- I don’t ever have to worry about running out of or ordering new checks.
- I never have to buy postage or stand in line at the post office.
- My checking account number isn’t floating around out there on too many checks.
- I leave a much smaller environmental paper trail in my wake.
I am not normally a stickler for privacy (although I guess I should be), so number five doesn’t bother me too much, but I was taught to think about that from a very young age. The things that do bother me, though, are the environmental concerns of the millions of paper checks written and disposed of each day along with wasting money on postage. So by only writing my one paper check per month, or just twelve of them per year, and instead doing as many financial transactions online as I can, I am able to save money, reduce waste, earn free travel, or waste any time. Seems like a win-win-win-win all around, right?
That all being said, I have some relatives who still write checks to each bill that arrives in the mail rather than switching to online banking/bill pay, and some that still write checks for groceries or goods at their local stores. Not sure why they are hesitant to make the switch, since online banking is easier in every way, but I figured I could bring it up here to see what you guys had to say about the subject. Do you still write a ton of paper checks every month? If so, why haven’t you made the switch to online bill pay? Privacy concerns? Technology fears? A longing for the old days?
I am really curious as to any reasons that some readers may have, so please – let us all know in the comments. It may give me tips which will help me convince the few stragglers in my family to switch over!
(photo credit: CarbonNYC)