Does anyone still use paper checks anymore? Call me old-fashioned, but I still see the usefulness in paper checks. Most major government services still accept checks without charging extra fees like they do for credit cards. As a parent I'm constantly using my checkbook. Most sports clubs have not moved into the world of the Square yet. Or what about field trips for school? I don't feel entirely comfortable sending my 5 year old to school with cash. Checks offer a bit of security and they are great in a pinch. Realistically, I can see the downfalls as well. Checks are not instantaneous. There is also the risk of forgery. However, the benefits seem to outweigh the risks.
Let's take a look at the other major downfall of checking: bank fees. And while the issue of checking sparked this topic, bank fees are a problem in their own right. One day I noticed an $8 banking charge on my account. I wasn't too happy about it. What I discovered made me even more upset. I was being charged $8 extra each month just to have paper checks. Seriously? Maybe the trend is moving towards paperless and they are trying to push people along, but the proper way to do that would be to get more schools, businesses, and services on board with digital transactions.
This isn't just a problem at my bank. This is a problem everywhere. Instead of banks making money off of interest from loans, they are now charging fees for staring too hard. Or they might as well be. Many consumers like myself don't read the fine print and so banks are able to get away with it.
Take, for instance, credit cards. They are very similar to those introductory cable offers. You know, those $100 packages for a year and then $300 for the rest of your life? Very similar concept for credit cards. They lure you in with the introductory rate of 0% which goes up to 24.99% after 12-15 months. They don't tell you that if your credit limit is $1000 that you should only really use $500 or it starts to hurt your credit. And then they are constantly shifting the payment due date in the hopes that you are late and they can jack up your introductory rate prematurely or hit you with a sizable late fee.
We should demand more clarity and simplification from the banking industry. Forget needing to know the special little tricks. If you are responsible with your money then I feel as though the financial industry should meet you halfway.