Thursday, April 13, 2006

Reordering Checks

I really do think checkbooks are going the way of the dinosaur, as I wrote about a while back. The other day I was surprised to discover that I had used my last check from my local checking account when I paid my rent. I don't pay many other things with paper checks, but I do need them now and then. I also have checks for my E*Trade money market and checking accounts, but I hardly ever use them. And I've never figured out if there is a free electronic way to transfer money between my local bank and my E*Trade accounts, so since my paycheck is direct-deposited in the local bank, I usually just write myself a check and mail it to E*Trade to do a transfer. Not very efficient. (Maybe I could use PayPal to transfer between accounts? Would that be free?)

Anyway, the experience of ordering checks was kind of funny. I checked my bank's website and there was an option for check reorders-- a couple clicks later, I thought they'd be on their merry way. But then I get an email from the bank saying my info isn't in their system and I need to call customer service. So I call customer service and the nice lady verifies my info and says she is connecting me to the check printer. But then she comes back on the line and asks "When was the last time you ordered checks for this account?" After a long "uuhhh" I had to reply that it was "maybe 10 years?"
For one thing, I've been using checks with the wrong address on them for almost 6 years. And from looking at the paper register, which I haven't used in years, it started with transactions that must have occurred at least a year or two before I moved. My last check was numbered 700-- I think they usually start at 101, so I guess I must have used 600 checks in 10 years. 60 checks a year, 5 checks a month. It must have been higher longer ago, because it sure hasn't been that many for the last few years.
This time I only ordered a box of 150 checks. I'll be lucky if I write 10 of them before I move and have to start crossing out my address again...


Anonymous said...

E*Trade allows you to transfer money back and forth to/from accounts in another bank. Once in the bank part of the web site, click on the 'Transfer Money' tab and hit the 'Add External Account' link. It takes a few days to setup. They will wire your external account 2 penny transfers to make sure you are authorized to access external account.

Bitty said...

You possibly could have gotten 10 or so "courtesy checks" from your bank which would have tided you over until the move.

Ah, well. As you say, checks are on their way out. (I write about 3 a month.) So that's something you'll probably never have to worry about again.

Anonymous said...

I hate checks too. I wish they would go away, but I don't carry much cash around. Also, you still need them for the occasional bill that you have to mail (house taxes, lawn company, etc). I am probably about the same rate as you. I have to send about 2 checks a month.

On the frugal thing again, I hate to mail a check since it cost the stamp. I always think it would be nice if everything was electronic, just to screw the post office who keep raising our rates. What a pain it is to go down to post office and get ten 3 cent stamps, so you can use your old stamps!