9 Reasons You Should Still Write a Check (#8 Saves You Money)

BANKING - CHECKING ACCOUNTS
Unlock the hidden advantages of sticking to the old-school method of payment.
Updated April 9, 2024
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man signing cheque

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While cash back cards and digital wallets dominate today's spending landscape, checks haven't gone extinct. In fact, in some situations, they offer unique advantages.

So, before relegating your checkbook to the back of your desk drawer, consider these scenarios where checks might be your unexpected financial allies.

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You want to trace a payment

Charnchai saeheng/Adobe businessman handing over cheque

A check is an excellent way to create a paper trail for payments if you need a transaction record or want to trace the payment.

For example, you might want to use a check for things such as the down payment for a home, a deposit in a retirement account or investment fund, or to confirm you paid your taxes.

You're sending a payment through the mail

Andrey Popov/Adobe man opening mailbox with mails

Most experts recommend against sending cash through the mail. A check is a much better option.

A check is more secure; you can stop payment if it's intercepted before getting to your recipient.

You're hiring a contractor or landscaper

Smole/Adobe landscape gardener laying turf

Contractors, landscapers, and other service providers usually prefer receiving a check or cash. Some self-employed folks might not even have the option to accept credit card payments.

From your perspective, using a check to pay for these services gives you a paper trail in case of any dispute.

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You're making large purchases

Ivan Kmit/Adobe miniature house sculpture on banknotes

When you make a down payment on a car or house, there's little chance you'll be allowed to pay in cash or use a credit card. A check remains the preferred method of payment.

Just note that in many cases, you might need to get a cashier's check from your bank for these payments rather than writing a personal check.

You want some time before money is taken from your account

Andrey Popov/Adobe man using online banking services

Personal checks take time to clear. So, a check can be the way to go if you need a day or two of grace before the money disappears from your account.

This is particularly true if you are mailing a payment, where it will likely take several days or more before the money disappears from your account.

Your recipient needs money, but not right away

devrim_pinar/Adobe man writing payment cheque

If a family member or friend needs money — but not right away — you can write a check now, and they can hold it for weeks or even months before cashing it at their convenience.

Just be aware that some banks might be wary of cashing a check that’s more than six months old.

You're afraid of becoming a victim of fraud

AVAVA/Adobe woman writing check to pay bills

If you're nervous that your credit card information or identity will be stolen and used for crooked purposes, you might prefer paying with a check.

It's not always easy to keep your private information private, especially when a third party, such as a retailer, is hacked and your credit card information suddenly becomes available to shady folks.

You don’t want to pay credit card fees

Wanan/Adobe calculator displaying fees sign on money

Some businesses or organizations will take your credit card payments for a transaction but pass the credit card fee on to you.

Instead, you can write a check to pay for things like rent or taxes to avoid the additional fee.

You want to save a small business from paying credit card fees

Carlos/Adobe woman paying through card at shop

Businesses have to pay processing fees for each credit card transaction. That is why some small businesses don’t even accept credit cards.

If you believe in helping out small businesses, paying with a check might help your favorite local business by allowing it to avoid paying a transaction fee on a credit card purchase.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!2

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today

Bottom line

NIKCOA/Adobe businessman writing cheque using fountain pen

From building trust with small businesses to managing finances with a paper trail, checks remain relevant tools for the savvy spender.

So, compare the top checking accounts and reacquaint yourself with the humble checkbook. You might be surprised at how it can complement your modern financial toolkit.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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