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When was the last time you wrote out a check?

sal 60 Hanzlik
27 days ago

I pay bills with auto pay from the bank. Use cash for during the month an an occasional check. Don't use credit cards. My DH does not want to use credit cards. I know we are behind times but so be it. How about you?

Comments (94)

  • seagrass_gw Cape Cod
    27 days ago
    last modified: 27 days ago

    We still write checks, but not many. We pay my mother's mortgage and send her a check every month to cover that. DH has a workshop on our property with a seperate electric service and the utility company considers it a "commercial" account (although it's not) and will not allow an automatic withdrawal - so I load a few hundred dollars on it by check and let them figure it out monthly. We also pay our property taxes by check, because otherwise we are charged a fee.


    We tip our newspaper delivery guy by check at the holidays - he includes a self-addressed envelope with the paper for that. We also use a check to pay the man who maintains our well when it needs service - he's an old timer and a solo business guy.

  • bpath
    27 days ago

    Our taxing authority charges a fee for any online payment. But, I had to pay for the checks and either gas to drive or a stamp. I can, however, drop it off at the bank I go by on my errands. I’ve done all diffeent ways, but I do find it most convenient to do it online.

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  • Alisande
    27 days ago

    I write lots of checks to my Post Office. I have a large mailbox and mail personal and eBay shipments from it. I also buy stamps via my mailbox. One of the perks of rural living.

  • sushipup1
    27 days ago

    Elmer, my son, the Penn educated computer genius, jumped thru hoops then gave up with the antiquated PA 529 system. But in the past few months, they finally seem to have come around and he's now set up to transfer from his bank account. 5 or 6 years ago, I attempted to get his wife to set up a transfer account with me, and they both balked at the idea at the time. I should float the idea once more, now that it's a more common practice.

    Remember when paying thru the bank that the bank will actually mail a check to the payee unless it's a pretty large and known company. So if I try to pay the gardener thru my bank, I can, but the check will still suffer the dreaded mail curse.

  • lgmd_gaz
    27 days ago

    Check writing is how I pay all my bills. Just wrote and mailed out 8 of them today.

  • maddielee
    27 days ago

    @lgmd_gaz “Check writing is how I pay all my bills. Just wrote and mailed out 8 of them today.”


    Why do you choose not to use your bank’s ”Bill Pay” option?

  • jmm1837
    27 days ago

    I can't remember the last time I wrote a cheque - at least a few years ago.  I use a credit card for most routine purchases, and it's automatically paid off every month, so I don't incur interest charges.  I  pay major bills for utilities, insurance, driver's licence, car registration, property taxes, income tax, etc by direct bank transfer.  In fact, I paid for my last car that way. There are no additional fees for direct bank transfers here.  I don't really understand why anyone would use a cheque when electronic is so much easier and faster.

  • mjlb
    27 days ago
    last modified: 27 days ago

    A few days ago I wrote a check to a rubbish removal company that I found on craigslist. I have several bills every month that I pay by check, but the check is written and sent by my bank, not be me directly. Basically bill pay by the bank, but not all payees are set up to receive payment electronically.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    27 days ago
    last modified: 27 days ago

    "Elmer, my son, the Penn educated computer genius, jumped thru hoops then gave up with the antiquated PA 529 system."

    I'm sure you're very proud of his accomplishments. You have every reason to be.

    A career with and around brilliant, well educated technologists and others in Silicon Valley taught me over and over that expertise, deep credentials in a narrow field, and exceptional smarts are usually not extensible. Unless his field is consumer-facing financial products, programs and software, he'd be as out of his element dealing with this as anyone else. You used the term "antiquated"- enough said. Old and idiosyncratic systems can be a challenge for even experts to figure out.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    27 days ago

    "I write lots of checks to my Post Office. I have a large mailbox and mail personal and eBay shipments from it. I also buy stamps via my mailbox."


    Alisande, every Post Office I've ever used accepted payment by credit card. Does the one you go to not offer that?

  • wildchild2x2
    27 days ago

    I use credit cards for everything. I use Bill Pay for paying utilities and E-checks for things like vehlcle registration. Last time I wrote a check was for a return/exchange of a rain jacket. They requested a check for 10.50 be enclosed to cover shipping of the replacement. It was the second hand written check I have done this year. The other was dues for a social group I belong to. They have too many elders that don't understand/trust/whatever other ways to pay so that is how they still do things.

  • murraysmom Zone 6a OH
    27 days ago

    Yesterday. I still pay my bills by check. It helps me keep track of my money and I can see at a glance for when bills are coming up or when to expect them.

  • marilyn_c
    27 days ago

    Today. I paid my water bill. I pay lights, water and DirectTV by check. That is all.

  • jmm1837
    27 days ago
    last modified: 27 days ago

    "It helps me keep track of my money and I can see at a glance for when bills are coming up or when to expect them."

    I find electronic banking does the same, but more quickly and efficiently. I can pull up the current status of my bank and credit card accounts on a daily basis if I need to.

  • sushipup1
    27 days ago

    Elmer, my son compares the PA 529 system to the state-run liquor stores. The products are there if you are persistent enough, but systems are held together with baling wire and duct tape.

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    27 days ago

    My building likes them for security deposits for various things, which makes sense. Until about 2 years ago, I regularly wrote cheques to some independent service providers (my Pilates instructor, my massage therapist), but they've switched to electronic transfers for things.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    27 days ago
    last modified: 27 days ago

    I get that, sushipup. I've been to state liquor stores in PA, also in NJ decades ago (if they still have them there). No thanks, they're a vestige of yesteryear that the states will desperately hold on to even though outdated because they make money from them.

  • joann_fl
    27 days ago

    Sunday, for Church


  • nickel_kg
    27 days ago
    last modified: 27 days ago

    Gosh, remember when you bought checks 500 or more at a time? And you'd page through sample booklets to choose a design? Who thought that would ever change, lol.

    The last checks I regularly wrote were for medical stuff, and that was because the doctor's office never seemed to charge my credit card correctly and I wanted a hard copy record to prove I paid the bill. Within the past 2? years all my doctor's billing systems have been updated to make paying on line so quick and easy, I love it.

    The very last hold out we deal with is the local govt, but as of this summer they accept credit cards. So we can walk to town hall and pay our semi-annual property tax bill by card. Yay!

    I don't know when we'll write another check -- possibly never.

    joann_fl, our church has had an electronic monthly autopayment option for ages. I like not having to deal with an offering every week, and passing the plate goes so much more quickly now (well it did pre-Covid, someday we'll be able to touch stuff again!) :-)

  • bpath
    27 days ago

    In 5th grade we did a week of ”outdoor ed” at a camp. Among other things, there was a camp store where we could buy camera film, pen and paper, socks. We all had an account and could write checks against it to buy the stuff. They gave us the checks and taught us how to fill out a check and complete the register ans balance our checkbook. We did use that knowledge for the next, oh, 40 years. That ”outdoor ed” was about a lot more than the great outdoors, but about being out of the shelter of mom and dad.

  • kathyg_in_mi
    26 days ago

    Mailed out 2 today. DH had cataract surgery, so 2 bills came in from the hospital, instead of entering both of them (not recurring bills) in bill pay I went to their website to pay them. It was going to cost me over $8 EACH to pay thru their website. So I wrote 2 checks, stapled them to the bills, then stapled the bills together and stuffed in 1 envelop. Take that hospital, I know they will not like the staples!!! Evil laugh!

  • Rho Dodendron
    26 days ago

    September 13, 2021. It was Grandsons Birthday, he lives halfway across the country. YOU wanna ask a 7 year old to open a venmo account?

    I write one or two checks a month for Birthday or Anniversary gifts. A plumber offered a discount recently if I paid by check.

  • lindaohnowga
    26 days ago

    I pay all of my bills with checks, other than my mortgage which is set up to be paid from my checking account monthly. What few things I order, gets put on the only credit card I have and when that bill comes in, it is also paid by check.


  • Alisande
    26 days ago

    Alisande, every Post Office I've ever used accepted payment by credit card. Does the one you go to not offer that?

    Elmer, if I'm in the actual Post Office I use a credit card. But not when I'm paying via my mailbox. For one thing, I'm not about to put the card in the mailbox and hope for the best. For another, many of the packages are small and/or lightweight, and I can ship via First Class Parcel, which is usually under $5. The PO frowns on putting cash in the mailbox.

    By the way, I never use the Post Office closest to my home because it has no computer. It's a tiny PO, a one-person operation, and when it was offered a computer years ago, the person working there at the time refused it. So if I were mailing a package and had no choice but to use that PO, instead of being given a printout with all the shipping info, including the tracking number, I would have to stand there and wait for the clerk to write out a receipt by hand. Haven't been there in years.

  • chinacatpeekin
    26 days ago

    Today. I pay my contractor by check; I guess we’re old school.

  • seagrass_gw Cape Cod
    26 days ago

    I have a bright orange envelope from our PO that I recycle to order a roll of stamps whenever we run out. I write a check, put it in the envelope in the mailbox at the end of our driveway with the flag up and a few days later the stamps are delivered. We live in a very remote place and this works for us.

  • jmm1837
    26 days ago

    I wonder if banking in the US is different than it is here in Australia.  If I get a hospital bill (or pretty much any other bill) , whether it's a regular payee or a one-off, I pay by direct transfer from my bank account to theirs when and as required and without fees. It's quick - as fast as writing a cheque (all I need to do is make sure I enter their account number and my invoice number correctly).  I get an instant electronic receipt from the bank the minute I hit the submit button.  The money is in the payee's account the same or next day. We do the same with birthday money for the grandkids: just transfer the money directly to their bank accounts. 


    I use a credit card for in store purchases, and the bank pays the account  automatically when due so I never pay interest.  


    I much prefer the electronic banking system: it's faster, provides instant updated bank statement and nothing ever gets lost in the mail. ;)

  • Kathsgrdn
    26 days ago

    Our county clerk's office doesn't take credit or debit cards either. I always forget when paying my car registration. Never carry my check book around anymore so I used to have to leave the courthouse and drive down to the ATM on the corner. Now that office has moved into my old bank building, but the bank left their ATM machine in the drive thru. So, when I paid last week, I drove through the ATM, got some cash out, drove down the street, making a big circle back to the place I just came from and entered their new drive through car registration at my old bank. I'm really glad they moved their office and I no longer have to find a parking spot, wait in line, etc...so much easier.

  • foodonastump
    26 days ago

    jmm - Medical bills, and most other bills, you can pay online. Or with a phone call if that glitches somehow. Only ones I can think of offhand that charge me a fee are parking tickets, water district, and school lunch debit card replenishment. That last one annoys me as they’ve lowered the amount you can fund at a time to increase their fee collection, but I guess they have to make money.

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
    26 days ago
    last modified: 26 days ago

    My water bill is the only recurring payment that I write a check for. All other bills are paid via bank transfer or occasionally a credit card.

  • socks
    26 days ago
    last modified: 26 days ago

    I used to write 50 checks a month now i write 2-3 i love it


    this is how posting on an ipad looks

  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
    26 days ago

    Really only a few- when I hire a workman such as a handyman or other professional home repair (chimney & roof recently). My last dentist I paid by check b/c he offered a discount for "cash". Also for things like kids fundraising for their schools, or the neighborhood association dues (although they are setting up e-payments currently).

  • chisue
    26 days ago

    I've found that there's almost always a fee if you want to pay by credit card. That makes sense, as it costs the recipient to process a CC. (Most recent example was renewing my vehicle registration with the Sec'y of State. My check + stamp cost less.)


    This summer Comcast was 'out' for a day and a half in our town. Businesses shut down. Storms and fires have caused electrical outages over many days in many places this year. Whether the problem is on my end or 'theirs', it's a pain. Has no one been stuck when unable to refer to records only available online? (Don't you love the automated message telling you to go online when you call to report an electrical, modem or other cable outage?)



  • Toronto Veterinarian
    26 days ago

    "I wonder if banking in the US is different than it is here in Australia."

    I believe Australia has a national system, like Canada does, of an inter-bank debit network that is separate from any credit card companies. I don't think the US has anything similar (yet).

  • Elmer J Fudd
    26 days ago

    "I wonder if banking in the US is different than it is here in Australia. If I get a hospital bill (or pretty much any other bill) , whether it's a regular payee or a one-off, I pay by direct transfer from my bank account to theirs when and as required and without fees."


    Yes, of course it's different. It's a different country and a much larger one. But payments by transfer are very common, as so many have described, but the procedures are no doubt different. There no bank fee and rarely a fee on the receiving end. Problems described above have concerned mostly governmental units, of which there are tens of thousands and some are very small and unsophisticated. Payment by transfer can be done two ways, which I think of as push or pull. Pull is when you give the biller your account numbers and authorize them to pull the money out of your account. That's common for me for payments for income and property taxes, utilities, etc. I get a $10 or $15 monthly fee discount from my cell phone bill for allowing them to settle their bills this way. This is always free for the ones I use.


    The other transfer approach I think of as push - I tell the bank to send someone money. This can be for a one-off payment or recurring ones. You can do this as a standing order - I have a monthly fee that I need to pay, I've set it up as a "push" transaction at my bank. It's paid each month on the day I specified and I don't need to remember to do it. It'll continue each month on autopilot until I tell them to stop. Also free.


    Some recipients are set up to receive customer transfers, some aren't. In cases where you set up a push and the bank finds the recipient doesn't or can't take it, they mail a check for free, no charge for the check or the postage. It doesn't matter to me how someone gets paid - it's their choice.


    When I lived in Continental Europe over 35 years ago, nearly all payments made by households could be made by bank transfer. Invoices received by mail had a detachable lower part with all the relevant info about the biller's bank accounts, so that the slip could be dropped off at one's own bank to initiate the transfer. Better yet, you could arrange in advance for recurring bills to be directly mailed to one's own bank branch, things for which payments were fixed or within an expected range. An agreement was signed saying, in so many words, "When you get a bill directly from X,Y, Z, or whatever biller, you're authorized to pay it immediately without asking me". The notice of payment from the bank would be prepared immediately and sent to me with a copy of the invoice they paid.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    26 days ago

    "I've found that there's almost always a fee if you want to pay by credit card"./


    Maybe this varies regionally. A few months ago, the account number of my main credit card was changed. It was a pain to go through and update my customer records for each biller that uses my credit card number automatically. It was nearly 20 of them in total, ranging from streaming TV services, phone bills, Amazon, ISPs, mail order prescriptions and more. No fees from any of them. All of them gladly incur the Visa or whatever system charges because for them, it's MUCH cheaper than processing billing and collections and they get paid much faster. And, no uncollectible accounts to lose money on.

  • jmm1837
    26 days ago

    I realize the US is a larger country than Australia:  I had also thought of it as an innovator at the forefront of change, but this article (which actually addresses my specific question about the differences in the two systems) suggests that when it comes to banking, the US has been a bit of a laggard, mainly because the banking system is so fragmented.

    For example, apparently, the US rolled out chipped cards late and had a fair few teething problems (the article is a few years old so I assume they've been worked out by now - surely you don't still have to sign for the purchase? Here, anything under $100 is strictly tap and go). 

    https://mashable.com/article/australia-us-banking-innovation

    I honestly can't think of any significant business or government agency, including local councils, that still want cash or cheques here. They'll take them, but all their bills contain their banking data and instructions for electronic or telephone payment. Of course, unbanking and underbanking aren't the issue here that they are in the US so that has probably made it easier for payees and their clients to move towards electronic banking more quickly.   

     I admit I haven't quite gone to the next step and started using a digital wallet, but I see a lot of people at the supermarket using their mobile phone instead of a bank or credit card to pay the bill.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    26 days ago
    last modified: 25 days ago

    Likewise here. Businesses and official agencies hate handling cheques and cash and will do all they can to discourage them. Regular bills are all payed by standing order or direct debit. One off bills are payed on line by bank transfer. Tradespeople like plumbers will email an invoice which is paid online. I haven't been into my bank physically for two or three years. Being asked for cash is a rarity now, especially since Covid. Indeed, some shops refuse to accept it. I’m old fashioned using plastic. The kids use their phones.

    I recently used a public toilet in London which was tap and go only for only 20 pence. (33 US cents)

  • Bluebell66
    26 days ago

    We rarely write checks - maybe a few a year to local vendors (plumber, electrician and such) that would charge a service fee for credit cards. We pay property taxes and water bill to our township by ACH, all utilities are auto-pay, and a couple of people we pay via Venmo, like the college kid who did some grunt work in our yard this summer and my hair person.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    26 days ago
    last modified: 26 days ago

    "I realize the US is a larger country than Australia: I had also thought of it as an innovator at the forefront of change,"

    It long has been and still is. Just as a trivial example, the PC you're using, the chips and other hardware inside of it, the internet you're connecting over, the servers and massive routers that power the internet, all contain products and software conceived and developed in the US.

    The author of the article you linked to mentions that (at the time) the US had more than 6000 different banks. It would have been perhaps more accurate and polite to describe it as being "vast, highly diverse and widespread" rather than "fragmented". The other think glossed over and I guess in a way that presumes that everyone accepts it is the situation in Australia of having only four banks control 80% of the market. Typical of the concentration of power in a business segment in a small country.

    I'm very familiar with the smartcard matter. I got one myself for use abroad, many years before they were easily available here. At the time were only two small US institutions that issued chip and PIN cards to the European standard. It actually worked both ways as it had a conventional (archaic) mag strip too. Anyway, when looking, and then when talking to the one I choose, I was told that the roadblock for US implementation was the cost for payment recipients (who are ultimately the charge systems customers) to have to throw away their existing hardware, buy new hardware, and reprogram their software systems to accept the new standard. Visa didn't want to do it and risk losing business to Mastercard and vice versa. There were (and are) millions of point of sale machines in the US so it was a major cost. They were ultimately successful by giving many years lead time warning of the intended transition and changing debt loss rules so that whereas before, the merchant bore the risk of loss through fraud use, the issuing banks (through VISA and Mastercharge) would bear such losses for all charges submitted using chip reading equipment. That worked.

    Banks, Visa and Mastercharge, and others involved are private sector organizations, market facing and customer driven. They couldn't make changes other than gradually. I've seen government mandates in banking and business sectors in smaller countries (in Europe) and whether or not such happened with card changes, they would not be acceptable here.

    If you like the innovation of digital wallets, the major ones to choose from (at least in the US) are Google Pay, AppleWallet and Pay Pal. All US companies. And if you use a smartphone, it's likely running US company developed operating systems Android or Apple's iOS.

  • jmm1837
    26 days ago
    last modified: 26 days ago

    I really don't know what your point is, Elmer. I made it clear that I have always thought of the US as an innovator (although I think Sir Tim Berners-Lee gets some of the credit for the internet as we know it today). However, it is apparently behind the times when it comes to banking and nothing you have written contradicts this. It may explain it, but it doesn't contradict it.

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    26 days ago

    Yeah, the US is way behind in banking and credit card tech and security, and they're only catching up slowly.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    26 days ago
    last modified: 26 days ago

    "I think Sir Tim Berners-Lee gets some of the credit for the internet"

    No, not at all. The internet, which began life as a US Dept of Defense project known as ARPANET, then DARPANET, had been in existence for over 20 years before his WWW proposal which is nothing more than a system of addressing and accessing content. The essential breakthrough feature of the ARPANET system in the late 60s was the use of TCP/IP protocols, which automatically reroutes messages through a variety of links (none of which needs to expect a message to arrive) to its intended destination in case any of the nodes became isolated because of broken connections. The motivation of the Defense Department for such a system was to provide a means for unbreakable and continuously operating communications in the event of an attack on the US destroying one of the "lines". TCP/IP remains the backbone technology of the internet today, able to reroute traffic around breaks and bottlenecks. It's also used in home and business networks.

    I've tried to be accommodating and engage in polite conversation with you but you seem committed to arguing and criticizing things American. Enough of that, I won't engage with you again other than to call you on future insults. I see your fellow countryman has joined in with an insult, easy enough to similarly ignore. Bye.

  • jmm1837
    26 days ago
    last modified: 26 days ago

    Elmer - for heaven's sakes, I'm aware of the origins of the internet. That's why I used the phrase "as we know it today." Thanks for misrepresenting what I said.

    This exchange started with me trying to understand the differences in banking systems, and led to me to finding a number of articles (from American sources) agreeing that the US has been slow to adopt contactless payments, and explaining why. No insults are involved, just fact finding. I don't know how you can interpret "I have always thought of the US as an innovator" as an insult.

  • jmm1837
    26 days ago

    @TorontoVet - I've actually been fascinated by the way the Square (another American innovation) has taken off in Australia. It's been here for about five years, but it's really become common since the arrival of Covid. Most of the vendors at our weekly farmer's market have it for contactless payments now. It connects your card to their mobile phone as quickly as a much more sophisticated setup in a major store or government agency. I understand the basic Square is incredibly cheap (around $50, I think) and the company makes its money from the transaction charges.

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    26 days ago

    I have used Square when I've sold stuff at craft markets in the before times. The service charges per transaction are on par with those of the credit card companies, and it will accept Interac cards too (that's our EFTPOS system). It has really helped small business people, especially those that work on the road or in small locations.

  • jmm1837
    26 days ago

    Interesting. I had seen the large versions, used with a tablet, in pre-covid days, but not the little one my bread guy now uses. And yes, it works here with credit cards, debit cards and our EFTPOS bank cards.


    I did a little more digging into Australia's introduction of contactless payments, and learned that the driving forces were neither the banks nor the card card companies, but two major supermarket chains who decided it would make their checkout system more efficient. They worked with the card companies to develop the system and trialed it in their chain back in 2011. The rest is history, as the banks and other businesses adopted the system and educated the public. I seldom use cash for anything these days, never mind cheques.

  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
    25 days ago
    last modified: 25 days ago

    Property tax, water bill, other county/state fees (in the majority) here do add a surcharge for paying with a credit card - it is a fee to the vendors that they use to process the payments.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    25 days ago

    No surcharge for card payment or bank transfer here. It’s cheaper for agencies than employing people to handle cheques and cash.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    25 days ago

    Floral, government agencies often charge a processing fee for credit card payments however handled, whether to cover the charges they incur with the card issuer (Visa or Mastercharge, as examples) or for that and the fee the third party vendor charges them. From their perspective, they're okay with offering the convenience but they don't want to have to bear the cost of doing so. I think a normal agency perspective is that if a citizen is on the website about to pay for a license renewal and has the choice of entering a bank account number for a cost-free transfer, or a credit card that will attract charges, they offer either but the chooser pays the cost if there is one.