Though paper check use has been on the decline for over a decade, that doesn’t mean they are obsolete. In fact, the Fed reports that checks still account for 12% of non-cash payments.1 Whether or not an individual should keep a checkbook may depend on their unique needs and their future purchase plans.
When to use a check
Some small businesses may not accept credit card payments due to transaction fees. Consider using a check or cash when shopping at or using the services of a small business – only 27% of them prefer digital payments (like credit cards or digital wallets).2
Not all goods and services can be paid for with a credit or debit card. For example, some car dealerships require a check or wire transfer to purchase a vehicle. Those unfamiliar with or uncomfortable using a wire transfer may turn to paper checks for this transaction. As well, many landlords still require checks or money orders for rent payments. If an individual plans to replace their ride or move into a rental property, it may make sense to invest in a book of checks.
When to use a digital payment method
While checks are a great, and sometimes necessary, way to pay for goods and services, digital payment solutions offer unparalleled security and convenience for everyday purchases.
If a check is handed directly to its recipient, there are fewer security implications to consider. But if a check is being sent by mail, such as to pay a utility or medical bill, fraud risks increase. This is because criminals may steal out-going mail and wash checks to cash them for a higher amount. For this reason, digital payments are the better alternative to mail-in check payments.
Digital payments are also more convenient because they don’t require users to leave their home (or wherever they are) to make a purchase. Not only this, but digital wallets remove the need to even have debit or credit cards physically present. Individuals can easily access their plastic from a device with Apple Pay®, Google Pay™, and Samsung Pay™ – all of which are free to download and use.
When using a Digital wallet, the merchant only receives a single-use code – not card details or personal information. Even in the event of a hack or data breach, the cardholder’s information remains uncompromised. Not only this, but their device’s pin, fingerprint, or facial recognition software is used to authenticate their purchase for additional protection.
General Electric Credit Union (GECU) accounts are compatible with all three of these digital wallet options. Contactless, secure, and quick, members can use these wallet apps to make purchases in-store, in-app, and online. Need checks? Simply login to Online Banking or the mobile app to order a checkbook today.