Ever since I moved to Canada, I had this love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with cheques (or checks, as our American friends call them). They’re unpredictable, they’re a piece of paper, it takes forever to get a payment and they’re more expensive than most people think.
It’s not a secret that I’m originally from The Netherlands, where cheques were rendered “ancient” in the early nineties or so.
When I came to Canada and the mechanic at the local garage gave me the option to pay either cash or write a cheque, I gave him a glazed look asking “a cheque?”. At first, I thought he was joking, but his confused expression told me he was dead serious. So, I paid cash and started learning about these cheques.
As mentioned earlier, I have a love/hate relationship with cheques, but it actually goes a little deeper. In general, banks in Canada are pretty behind in the times when it comes to electronic banking. Sure, we have cards with chips, but sending a payment through this wonderful thing called “the Internet” is still a fairly big hurdle. In Europe, you can simply transfer money by typing the recipient’s bank account number and name, and the money is transferred instantly, for free!
Reasons why I love cheques:
- Almost every business accepts them
Reasons why I hate cheques:
- They’re unpredictable. When I give cash to someone, my money is gone. When I give someone a cheque, I still have money until I forget about that payment and the recipient decides to cash the cheque.
- I have to get out of my way to deposit the cheque.
- Receiving a cheque doesn’t mean someone paid me. It’s merely giving a false feeling of trust. The cheque can still bounce for several reasons.
- They’re expensive. Getting a chequebook costs money, sending a cheque costs money and a transaction at the bank costs money.
1 cheque costs between $0.20 and $0.50. Add an envelope, stamp and transaction fee, and each payment is close to or over $1. Depending on your bank, and Interac e-transfer costs the same, and it’s instant.
- If someone mis-spells my name, the cheque is not accepted.
- My cheque book doesn’t fit in my wallet.
- A lot of organizations need 2 signatures to make transactions for “security”, which means the only option is to pay with a cheque. In reality, these organizations often just sign a bunch of cheques in advance, which defeats the security issue.
- Cheques, more often than I’d like, get lost in the mail.
What about business?
At PoppenWorks, we’d love to make everything as easy as possible for all parties involved, but relying on cheques hurts business; any business. There are so many reasonable options for when you want to live without cheques. For payments, we accept credit cards through Stripe, and we recommend Square for storefront owners. For Canadians, we also accept Interac e-Transfers, accessible to almost everyone with an online banking account. If your bank doesn’t support this, it’s time to switch banks. More information on how we accept e-transfers, click here.
There’s also Paypal, which is easy to use for many people. However, we don’t recommend relying on them, especially when running a business. They have many quirks that can cost a lot of money and their customer service is lacking, to say the least.
For example; Paypal has removed a funding bank account from our Paypal account on several occasions for no apparent reason, and if the reason was legitimate, I never got notified of the removal, leaving me pulling my hair, because Paypal is the only payment method in some cases.
To sum it up
We don’t need cheques anymore. We understand that some organizations require 2 signatures and have no choice, but if you have another option, please don’t send a cheque.