Personal Finance 
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Don’t Write Personal Checks

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Last weekend, the Consumerist mentioned a story that fewer retailers were accepting personal checks this holiday season. They cited check fraud as the big reason for not accepting checks and I argue that check fraud is the big reason why many consumers should not write checks.

The personal check is one of the most insecure methods of payment.

Consider this test, I call it the internet safety test. If you took an image of a completely filled out of a check, how much of it would you have to black out before you’d feel comfortable posting it on the internet?

I’d have to black out the following:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your bank’s ABA routing number
  • Your bank account number
  • Your check number
  • Your signature

Once you black out those six items, all that remains is the Payee, the amount, and the picture of Winnie the Pooh with his head in the honeypot. When you hand over that check to the cashier, you lose control over almost everything a thief needs to socially engineer your money away from an unsuspecting teller. If you were considering a check, get a debit card from your bank and use that instead. At least with debit and credit cards, you get consumer protection and limited fraud liability.

Don’t use checks unless you absolutely have no other choice.

{ 72 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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72 Responses to “Don’t Write Personal Checks”

  1. rick_go says:

    Checks are very powerful instruments when used correctly. I can be very specific as to who can cash it and the terms in which it can be cashed. A check is directing my bank to do something according to my express conditions. How many of you have used endorsement specific conditions? I will always bank with an institution that allows me the power to set the terms of the transaction.

    • smarter says:

      Anybody can take a check with anybodies name and cash it. Banks like BofA don’t even look at “who its written to”… just drop it in an ATM deposit and its cashed because its automated… You seriously think your giving “instructions”?

      The RDFI(ur bank) isnt going to give one hoot about your “instructions”. Also since the RDFI (ur bank) cant see who cashed or where the money really went you cant verify your “instructions” were followed.

      Your statement is so intellectually foolish in regards to how banking really works.

      • John says:

        Apparently rick_go’s bank honors his considerations. Don’t try to act smart because you “think” you know how all banks work because when you do you look foolish.

        smarter . . . HAHAHAHA! What a hypocrite you are.

  2. Not only do I hate writing checks, but all the points you make about how unsecure they are. Using a credit card is so much easier and doesn’t hold up the line either :)

  3. Soccer9040 says:

    This is out of right field, but it always seems to be 2 different demographics that use checks in line at the stores. People my grandparents age. I’ll give them a fair pass because its hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Plus they are generally slower, I’m fine with that. The other demographic seems to be lower class less well kept people. It could just be the stores I am at when I see people writing checks…

  4. Prasath says:

    Even I pay my Apartment Rent by “Bill Pay” feature from checking account.

    Not issuing any Check for the past 8 years unless the receipent does not accept it.

    Also Good Thing is We can sort/add the amount paid to the receipent through online whereas it has to do manually while issuing check.

    [My older roommate fought with me , why you are not sending check ? eventhough we are living in the same house. i told him this is the policy i am following. otherwise, i will give cash (but no cash)]

  5. Ron C says:

    I always use some other means to pay other than a personal check if at all possible. The other means are “bank bill pay” or a credit card. On my Paypal account I did have to give them my checking account number to set it up, but I always use a credit card for Paypal payments. I use personal checks when there is no other way out. e.g. for a neighbor I know well. In the past I printed my own checks. It was a sobering experience. Buy a laser printer. Buy toner that is magnetic and works on checks. Buy blank real check paper and get your hands on a real check. Copy all and you are in business.


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