Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Thursday Thirteen #355

13 facts about checks. Every time I order new checks, I'm sure it's the last time. My check writing has dipped precipitously to about six a month. With that in mind, I took to spinning around the world wide web and found I'm not unusual.

1. While checks aren't the least popular way to pay at the register, they are second to last. Debit cards are first, credit cards are second, cash is third, and checks are a very distant fourth. The only thing less popular are mobile payment apps. (And they are on the rise while checks are on the decline.)

2. According to the Federal Reserve, this is very different from the 1990s. Thirty years ago, cash was the first and checks were a close second. The emergence of debit cards coincides with the drop in cash/check usage.

3. Some smart shoppers still use checks for BIG ticket items, like appliances, electronics or home renovation. This can save the credit card processing fee (anywhere from 1.5% to 3%). 

4. Some dealerships prefer checks to plastic for the down payment on a vehicle.

5. If you're paying at the register with a check, expect to have your government-issued ID (passport, driver's license or state ID) handy. If the address on your ID doesn't match the check, you'll likely be required to also present a utility bill to confirm your residence.

6. How many checks you write may reveal your age. 52% of Americans over 45 write checks monthly, while 9% of those under 24 do.

7. Checkwriting has become so rare that you can find online tutorials on the subject. If you need a refresher, here is Huntington Bank's.

8. For security reasons, checks can be preferable for gift giving over the miles. Unlike cash, they can be replaced if lost or stolen. Unlike gift cards, they are difficult to detect in a sealed envelope.

9. People who use checks prefer designer checks over those issued by their bank. Letting you choose a design that fits your personality is big business for companies like The Bradford Exchange, Checks in the Mail, and Checks Unlimited.

10. The most consistently popular designer patterns are nature scenes, followed by Bible quotes, and then cats and/or dogs. (My checks feature the logo of my beloved Chicago Cubs.)

11. There's a wide variety of checkbook covers available. The bi-fold and wallet style are the most popular.

12. The most expensive checkbook cover on Amazon is genuine alligator and sells for $149.

13. Checks are popular with autograph collectors. Last year, a personal check signed by Abraham Lincoln to his valet sold for $100,000 at auction.

Please join us for THURSDAY THIRTEEN. Click here to play along, and to see other interesting compilations of 13 things.