How do checks work again?

TheBama

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 20, 2010
380
46
Birmingham, AL
I was at a Publix (southern grocery store chain) today and got stuck waiting in line for fifteen minutes while the cashier called her manager CONVINCED the guy in front of me was trying to scam her because he hadn't written anything on the Memo line of his check and didn't see a need to do so when the cashier insisted the line couldn't be left blank.

Thought it was funny how this analog payment form, once universally understood is now able to confuse young people used to swiping and tapping.

But then... the dude could have just scribbled "food" on the "for" line and let us all get about the rest of our day :rolleyes:
 

takao

macrumors 68040
Dec 25, 2003
3,820
444
Dornbirn (Austria)
that cheques are still used in the US is the bizarre thing in the first place.

I'm 31 and the last time i saw a cheque was more than 20 years ago when my parents used a traveller cheque during a holiday

cheques today are a like living dinosaur
 

MICHAELSD

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
3,714
1,101
NJ
Chase gives you three checks when you open a checking account. Didn't they used to give out an entire book's worth? lol
 

juanm

macrumors 68000
May 1, 2006
1,576
2,994
Fury 161
that cheques are still used in the US is the bizarre thing in the first place.

I'm 31 and the last time i saw a cheque was more than 20 years ago when my parents used a traveller cheque during a holiday

cheques today are a like living dinosaur
In France they still use them a lot, for deposits, and such.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,690
33,576
Boston
I had to pay a parking ticket either online or by check. The online option had a 3 dollar "convenience" fee (no joke that's what it was called), or I could pay by check. I dug out my checks and mailed it in.

Why should I be charged a convenience fee letting them have my money faster. I'd rather not pay the ticket but alas, I was truly in the wrong.
 

heehee

macrumors 68020
Jul 31, 2006
2,468
229
Same country as Santa Claus
I still use cheques.
  • Transferring money to my wife each month, we use different banks, wiring is costly
  • Before I bought the house I have to write post-dated cheques to the landlord instead of giving him one each month
  • Put a downpayment on the house with a cheque
  • Pay lawyer fees with cheque
  • Downpayment on car with cheque
  • Void cheques for automatic withdraws/deposits
  • Wedding gift, instead of cash so they know who the gift is from and it's safer

But I never write anything down on the memo line.
 

NewbieCanada

macrumors 68030
Oct 9, 2007
2,574
35
But then... the dude could have just scribbled "food" on the "for" line and let us all get about the rest of our day :rolleyes:
He could have, but then he would have allowed her to go on accusing honest customers of being scammers. Now the manager knows what kind of employee they have.

Plus, I don't think she'd have appreciated the memo I'd have written on the cheque - "Memo field filled at insistence of Publix employee Jane Doe, who is an idiot."

I know that cheques are still used in Canada enough that one of our major banks' smartphone app lets you deposit a cheque by taking a photo of it!

https://www.cibc.com/ca/features/mobile-deposit.html
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,935
2,534
St. Louis, MO
I had to pay a parking ticket either online or by check. The online option had a 3 dollar "convenience" fee (no joke that's what it was called), or I could pay by check. I dug out my checks and mailed it in.

Why should I be charged a convenience fee letting them have my money faster. I'd rather not pay the ticket but alas, I was truly in the wrong.
This.

After I moved out of my apartment where check was the only way to pay, I've only used a check to pay a furnace repair guy, speeding tickets, and the registration on my new car. I'll dig out my checkbook before paying a convenience fee for using plastic.

Interestingly enough, the lawyer that handled my speeding ticket took credit sans convenience fee. Guess lawyers can afford it :p
 

GoCubsGo

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 19, 2005
35,741
146
Unfortunately checks are still necessary. If I don't want to pay cash to get my hair done I need to write a check...so I do. I transfer money from one account to another from time to time using a check and mobile deposit because one bank charges me $8.00 to do an electronic transfer. I refuse to pay that. I once ran a red light years ago when the cameras were still up in my town and had to write a check. Handy men prefer checks or cash as did the service technicians that I have had at my house for one catastrophe or another. So I have to keep some checks on hand.

I have a letter somewhere, which I should go find, from my bank about using the memo line. For my hair I would write "sex hair" in the memo line. When I paid my rent before I didn't have rent to pay any longer I would write "ransom". I think when I paid a plumber in April for the water heater replacement I wrote "hot dudes and hot water" because the guy was good looking and I once more had hot water. That was the one that must have prompted the letter...oddly. They went on about the seriousness of an official document and all that and threatened to close my account if the problem continued.
 

smithrh

macrumors 68020
Feb 28, 2009
2,489
976
Be careful with checks/cheques.

First of all, it's a paper document with your name, address and bank account number on it. That alone should give people pause. To think that people were encouraged to put their SSN on it too.... shudder...

On top of that, be careful in paying by check. There are quite a few places out there that now stipulate in their T&Cs that if you pay by check, they'll scrape your bank information from the check, and start pulling funds from that account monthly. If I recall right, Verizon was one of those companies.

Oh heck no.
 

Tomorrow

macrumors 604
Mar 2, 2008
7,155
1,336
Always a day away
I don't know of any requirement to put anything in the "memo" line of the check. I've written hundreds over the years and maybe filled out that line three times.
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,935
2,534
St. Louis, MO
Unfortunately checks are still necessary. If I don't want to pay cash to get my hair done I need to write a check...so I do. I transfer money from one account to another from time to time using a check and mobile deposit because one bank charges me $8.00 to do an electronic transfer. I refuse to pay that. I once ran a red light years ago when the cameras were still up in my town and had to write a check. Handy men prefer checks or cash as did the service technicians that I have had at my house for one catastrophe or another. So I have to keep some checks on hand.
WTF, was that to transfer between accounts at the same bank? Or different banks?

I think even my credit union charges me to do an electronic transfer to a different bank (not $8, never had to do one though) but charging for transfers at the same bank is unheard of, or so I thought.

I have a letter somewhere, which I should go find, from my bank about using the memo line. For my hair I would write "sex hair" in the memo line. When I paid my rent before I didn't have rent to pay any longer I would write "ransom". I think when I paid a plumber in April for the water heater replacement I wrote "hot dudes and hot water" because the guy was good looking and I once more had hot water. That was the one that must have prompted the letter...oddly. They went on about the seriousness of an official document and all that and threatened to close my account if the problem continued.
Hah, I never knew anyone at the bank even read those, I thought the entire check process was completely automated. Wonder who the poor sap is who spends their day looking at check memos, flagging anything "inappropriate".
 

GoCubsGo

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 19, 2005
35,741
146
WTF, was that to transfer between accounts at the same bank? Or different banks?

I think even my credit union charges me to do an electronic transfer to a different bank (not $8, never had to do one though) but charging for transfers at the same bank is unheard of, or so I thought.



Hah, I never knew anyone at the bank even read those, I thought the entire check process was completely automated. Wonder who the poor sap is who spends their day looking at check memos, flagging anything "inappropriate".
I would write the memo part quite large and as dark as I could. I figured I was funny. I don't know who looks. It seemed like these were all automated somehow.

The bank I use wants $8.00 to transfer from one account to another bank. I just refuse to throw that away. I need to switch banks but I don't like change and I procrastinate when it comes to things like that.
 

senseless

macrumors 68000
Apr 23, 2008
1,815
217
Pennsylvania, USA
There are some instances when a check is a much better idea. For example, if you subscribe to a magazine with a credit card, you're probably enrolled for life until you go through the hurdles to cancel it.

Plus, a cancelled check is an excellent proof of payment.
 

Carlanga

macrumors 604
Nov 5, 2009
7,014
1,300
Unfortunately checks are still necessary. If I don't want to pay cash to get my hair done I need to write a check...so I do. I transfer money from one account to another from time to time using a check and mobile deposit because one bank charges me $8.00 to do an electronic transfer. I refuse to pay that. I once ran a red light years ago when the cameras were still up in my town and had to write a check. Handy men prefer checks or cash as did the service technicians that I have had at my house for one catastrophe or another. So I have to keep some checks on hand.

I have a letter somewhere, which I should go find, from my bank about using the memo line. For my hair I would write "sex hair" in the memo line. When I paid my rent before I didn't have rent to pay any longer I would write "ransom". I think when I paid a plumber in April for the water heater replacement I wrote "hot dudes and hot water" because the guy was good looking and I once more had hot water. That was the one that must have prompted the letter...oddly. They went on about the seriousness of an official document and all that and threatened to close my account if the problem continued.
Awesome memos. They can't really close your account for that though? The memo line is to be used/understood by you only. How about if you draw like a milk jug or a wrench for a handy man? Lol
 

Aspasia

macrumors 65816
that cheques are still used in the US is the bizarre thing in the first place.

I'm 31 and the last time i saw a cheque was more than 20 years ago when my parents used a traveller cheque during a holiday

cheques today are a like living dinosaur
A traveler's check and a bank check are two different animals.

The use of bank or credit union checking account is quite common, especially in business. At our firm we prefer clients pay by check to avoid the percentage taken by the credit card processor. We pay our bills and payroll by check.

I use my personal checking account for all local purchases. Don't even have to write the check out - it's electronically processed on the spot.

Nothing archaic at all about checking accounts. Just another way of doing business and in some ways, safer than credit/debit cards - or carrying large amounts of cash.
 

jim.hickman.777

macrumors regular
Sep 14, 2014
136
0
I use regular checks and counter checks at stores most places around here won't take plastic yea I know it's oklahoma
 

takao

macrumors 68040
Dec 25, 2003
3,820
444
Dornbirn (Austria)
A traveler's check and a bank check are two different animals.
i have never seen a bank cheque in my whole life except american movies ;)

The use of bank or credit union checking account is quite common, especially in business. At our firm we prefer clients pay by check to avoid the percentage taken by the credit card processor. We pay our bills and payroll by check.
so you hand out cheques for your employees every month ? i simply get a transfer into my account on the last of the month (and receive a PDF in my e-mail account with my salary details/taxes/ etc.)
and our clients pay with direct transfers, and we pay our bills directly (unless it's traveling related -> credit cards)

my mother worked as an accountant in a small 5 person plumping company and 99% of all transfers were done by wire transfers

Nothing archaic at all about checking accounts. Just another way of doing business and in some ways, safer than credit/debit cards - or carrying large amounts of cash.
compared to electric money transfers ? not really
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,935
2,534
St. Louis, MO
A traveler's check and a bank check are two different animals.

The use of bank or credit union checking account is quite common, especially in business. At our firm we prefer clients pay by check to avoid the percentage taken by the credit card processor. We pay our bills and payroll by check.

I use my personal checking account for all local purchases. Don't even have to write the check out - it's electronically processed on the spot.

Nothing archaic at all about checking accounts. Just another way of doing business and in some ways, safer than credit/debit cards - or carrying large amounts of cash.
There is no way a check is safer than a credit card. With a credit card, you're not responsible for fraudulent charges. Now, let's say the same is true for a check:

Your credit card gets stolen. Thief charges $1,000 to it. Your bank account remains untouched and you still have access to your money while your credit card company investigates and reverses the charges.

Your checkbook gets stolen. Thief writes a check for $1,000. Your bank account balance is $1,050. Now, you have 50 bucks to last you until your bank investigates and reverses it.

Plus, credit cards offer benefits like extended warranties. What does your check offer?
 

Aspasia

macrumors 65816
There is no way a check is safer than a credit card. With a credit card, you're not responsible for fraudulent charges. Now, let's say the same is true for a check:

Your credit card gets stolen. Thief charges $1,000 to it. Your bank account remains untouched and you still have access to your money while your credit card company investigates and reverses the charges.

Your checkbook gets stolen. Thief writes a check for $1,000. Your bank account balance is $1,050. Now, you have 50 bucks to last you until your bank investigates and reverses it.

Plus, credit cards offer benefits like extended warranties. What does your check offer?
If my checkbook was stolen, all I'd need to do is call my credit union and give them the check number of the last check I wrote, checks I wrote that were outstanding, and close the account. Forgery is a criminal act.

I noted I use my checks locally, within my own community. Write a check in a different city and you'll be required to produce picture I.D. I'm less concerned about having my checkbook stolen than I am about the Target, Home Depot, etc. data breaches.

Can you remember the last time you used your credit card and the signature on the back of the card was checked? I have "photo i.d. required" written on the back of my cards - not once have I been asked to identify myself.

----------

compared to electric money transfers ? not really

You don't seem to understand that when I present a check to a store cashier, it IS an electronic money transfer.
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
27,397
12,511
You don't seem to understand that when I present a check to a store cashier, it IS an electronic money transfer.

Do you write your check before or after giving them a handful of coupons, many of which are expired or not for what you bought?
 
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