Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Paper or Electrons?

We still write checks. We still keep a record of the checks, deposits, withdrawals and debit transactions in a little check register. Once a month we balance the checkbook. Once a month the cancelled checks are returned to us. Well, they used to be. Our bank finally went over to the dreaded scanned image of the check. I know I should want to embrace this new technology. I know I should be happy about the energy savings and cost savings my bank claims to be achieving on my behalf. (It would be nice if those savings showed up as interest in my account, though!) And I know I should have already headed over to on-line bill paying. Think of the paper that would be saved.

I guess I am old fashioned. Or perhaps I am merely old. Gulp. But I like the pen to paper process of noting the items in my budget and writing out the checks. It feels very official, very real. I’m not a complete Luddite. I use our bank’s automated phone line to do some stuff. See? That’s very, ummm, late 20th century. Maybe it’s crazy, but it seems so much safer to seal and stamp an envelope; drop it into a metal box on the street corner; let people in uniforms pass it through high speed automated machines; load it into plastic crates in little trucks; deliver it to a mail room; have another automated machine slit open the envelope; then another person will type my payment into a computer, somewhere in the basement of a very tall building, in a far away city.

Isn’t that better than entering a few numerals into a little box on a web page and clicking pay? No? Oh dear.

Hey Chuck? Sweetie, I think we need to talk...


Anonymous said...

I too felt a great sense of accomplishment when I wrote the checks, noted the amounts in two separate notebooks and balanced the checkbook once a month. However, I quickly went over to the dark side when I discovered how easy it was to use bill-pay through my account online. I don't even have a register any more, I just look online every few days to make sure things are as they should be. I love not balancing a checkbook. The only thing I will not do is use autmatic bill pay, I still like to control exactly when a payment is sent.

Try it, you might like it!


Jeff said...

I'm still wielding the checkbook, too. It's very tempting to do the online bill paying, but as Kathy had her checking account stolen just last month, I'm still leery...

I keep thinking that the way to foil the identity thieves would be to have a separate account, and only that one gets exposed to the internet. Then just transfer the funds twice: once to the online-exposed account, and once more immediately out of that account.

Is that too nutty?...

(Being old or being crazy is never a desired trait, but being old AND crazy is perfectly okay.)

Pink Granite said...

Hi Gail -
Thanks for the testimonial! You make it sound so much easier than the "old fashioned way"!
Do the payments go through right away? When this on-line stuff first started, I heard there was a lag time.
Thanks for the advice, you 21st Century Gal!
- Lee

Hi Jeff -
Doesn't sound nutty to me!!!
We seriously considered having one computer for internet access and one for everything else. So your idea of staggered accounts sounds smart.
And it's a relief to know that old AND crazy is A-OK! O&C here I come...
- Lee

Jeff said...

Too funny! I've been running an internet-only system beside a no-net-connection for about 5 years, now!

purpleronnie said...

What'a check??

Hahahahaha! Just kidding! But really, that does seem terribly tedious - go on - try it!!!

Pink Granite said...

Hey Jeff -
Great minds think alike - but you followed through on it! Congrats!
- Lee

Hey Ronnie -
Apparently I outed myself as a dinosaur with this post!!!
It sure does sound easy...
- Lee