Is the chequebook quickly being consigned to history?
More and more, banking and personal financial transactions are moving farther from brick, mortar and piles of paper, and closer to being totally digital.
Every day brings a new financial app or program focused on engaging consumers electronically, often through their mobile phones.
Starting next month, anyone applying for U.S. government benefits or pensions will automatically receive their payments electronically, while those already receiving paper cheques will need to switch to direct deposit by 2013.
And the state of Georgia is mailing debit cards instead to tax-refund cheques to select residents under a pilot program.
This is all bad news if you’re the company that prints those paper cheques, however. So, it’s not that surprising that Deluxe Corp, one of the largest cheque manufacturers in North America, is fighting back.
According to its research, 75 per cent of consumers want the freedom to pay however they choose, and that 38 per cent say they would walk out or not return to a store or restaurant that didn't accept a cheque.
And they even have their own poster boy: Duncan Steele, a.k.a. "The Man with Checks Appeal" who’s out there fighting for your right to pay the old fashioned way in supermarkets, restaurants, and even, apparently, convenient stores.
I suppose there are still some people -- businesses looking to play with the float, parents who don’t want to give Johnny the cash for the book fair ... my mother -- who still write paper cheques, but when was the last time a supermarket cashier took your personal script?
Do you think the days of the cheque are still numbered? Do you still use them? Or will large payments like rent, utility bills and person to person payments keep the industry alive?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
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