The Case Against Paper Checks: Protecting Your Finances in 2023
In today's digital age, it's easy to assume that everyone has moved past traditional forms of payment like paper checks. However, recent data suggests that many people still use them, albeit at a risk. An article from the Los Angeles Times, dated July 15, 2023, highlighted the growing concerns surrounding check fraud tied to mail theft and presented compelling reasons for leaving the paper trail behind.
The Fraud Threat
One of the primary dangers cited in the article is check fraud resulting from mail theft. While electronic payment methods are not entirely immune to scams, they often have robust security measures in place to detect and counteract fraudulent activities. On the other hand, paper checks sent through mail become vulnerable targets. Crafty thieves can potentially alter the amount on the check or even forge a signature, leading to significant losses directly from your bank account.
The Inefficiency of Checks
Besides the security issues, paper checks are just not efficient. There's the process of writing, mailing, and then the recipient's trip to the bank. It’s a time-consuming procedure in an era when instant transactions have become the norm. Moreover, there's always the potential for a check to get lost in the mail, causing further inconvenience for both the sender and the recipient. Not to mention that the younger generation becoming todays customers will not tolerate friction at checkout, and you'll get your money faster.
According to the LA Times article, the economic toll of check fraud is massive. Financial institutions bear the brunt of these losses, which can inadvertently trickle down to consumers in the form of higher fees or more stringent banking policies.
While this might not have been the focus of the LA Times article, it's worth mentioning: using and processing paper checks contribute to environmental degradation. From the paper used to produce the checks to the carbon footprint associated with delivering them, the environmental impact is significant compared to digital alternatives.
What Can You Do?
For those who still rely on checks, the transition might seem daunting. Here are some steps to consider:
While paper checks have served us well for many decades, it might be time to reconsider their relevance in our increasingly digital world. The risks highlighted by the LA Times underscore the importance of modernizing our payment methods. Protect your finances, save time, and play a part in saving the environment by saying goodbye to the paper check.
Be careful out there and get with the right partner with the experience to know what small businesses need. Reach out to me directly at the number below or schedule a zoom if you need help or just need a free consultation.