credit & debt

Why Do People Still Pay Bills With Paper Checks?

Practical or not, many Americans cling to the old-fashioned checkbook.

We now have credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, PayPal, ApplePay...the list goes on. Yet the woman at the supermarket ahead of you just pulled out her checkbook. What gives?

While electronic payment options have replaced paper checks as the main alternative to cash, Americans cling to their checkbooks. There’s a practical reason why: Some new payment methods aren’t widely accepted. Your utility company won’t take Venmo, for example, and Walgreens won’t take bitcoins. But both take checks.

There’s also a financial reason. The delay between when a check gets written and when the funds are withdrawn from an account is known as the “float.” During this period, the check writer can continue to earn interest on the money. This includes the time when the check is, quite literally, in the mail. Big businesses, in particular, can profit from the float.

But perhaps the biggest reason consumers keep writing paper checks is neither practical nor financial. Put simply: Old habits die hard.

Learn why seven more everyday things refuse to die including fax machines and parking meters.

Most Popular

Dying Careers You May Want to Steer Clear Of
careers

Dying Careers You May Want to Steer Clear Of

It’s tough to change, but your job could depend on it. Be flexible in your career goals – and talk with your kids about their own aspirations, because…
September 13, 2021
5 Top Dividend Aristocrats to Beef Up Your Portfolio
dividend stocks

5 Top Dividend Aristocrats to Beef Up Your Portfolio

The 65-member Dividend Aristocrats are among the market's best sources of reliable, predictable income. But these five stand out as truly elite.
September 14, 2021
7 Best Commodity Stocks to Play the Coming Boom
commodities

7 Best Commodity Stocks to Play the Coming Boom

These seven commodity stocks are poised to take advantage of a unique confluence of events. Just mind the volatility.
September 8, 2021

Recommended

11 Best Things to Keep in a Safe Deposit Box
savings

11 Best Things to Keep in a Safe Deposit Box

These valuables and documents, along with some items you hold dear, should be stored securely at your bank.
September 25, 2021
9 Things You’ll Regret Keeping in a Safe Deposit Box
savings

9 Things You’ll Regret Keeping in a Safe Deposit Box

Locking up certain important documents and valuables in a bank vault could turn into a headache for you or your heirs.
September 24, 2021
Complain and Be Heard
Smart Buying

Complain and Be Heard

Getting our money back for the extended warranty and gap insurance we didn't want took patience and persistence.
August 31, 2021
10 Things to Know About Hurricane Insurance Claims
Becoming a Homeowner

10 Things to Know About Hurricane Insurance Claims

Know what's covered, what isn't, and how to make the most of your policy if you need to file a claim.
August 30, 2021