Although we live in a society that is laden with credit card debt, many Americans still don’t have credit cards. Or, their credit cards are maxed out, so they can’t use them to make purchases anymore.
That leaves us with paying for products and purchases the old fashioned way, by sending a paper check (or a money order) through the postal system. There are pros and cons about sending checks in the mail. A good thing about paying this way is that most anyone can do it. All you need is a check, an envelope (which is usually provided by the biller), a stamp, and a mailbox. You can pay virtually any bill by using this method. How many of us sit down at least once a month with a pile of bills on one side of us and our check book on the other side? I know I do! There are utilities to pay, insurance payments to make, credit cards to pay for, rent or mortgage payments to meet, and a slew of other bills to pay. Most merchants and service suppliers accept personal checks, so that’s not a problem there. Very few businesses refuse to take personal checks. Unless someone has stiffed them by trying to pass bad checks, that is.
With all that said, however, there are more cons in sending paper checks through the mail than there are pros. One pro is that the more checks you use, the more you have to buy. If you order your checks through a bank, you’ll usually pay a pretty hefty price for them. And, of course, the more paper checks you send, the more first class stamps you’ll have to buy to send them with.
Another negative is that the United States Postal Service (USPS) handles a ton of mail every day. Because of the enormous volume of mail they receive and process, it’s only common that some of it is going to be become lost. Then, even though you spent the first class postage and the price of the paper check to pay your bill, the biller will be calling you anyhow wanting to know where his or her payment is. And, you’ll have to call the bank in hopes the check wasn’t stolen and cashed already. All banks charge a fee to put a “stop payment” order on the checks that are written on their bank. So that will cost you even more.
Not to mention, that if you put paper checks in your mail box, and a thief steals them, your checking account could be wiped out before you know it.
Yet another con of sending a paper check through the mail is that the USPS gets behind before and during Christmas time. Severe weather and storms can also slow down mail delivery times. No offense to the postal system, but the billers don’t care why their check was late. And, when it is, they automatically tack on a considerable late charge.
There is an alternative way to pay a biller without putting a paper check in your mail box. It’s called “Check by FAX” or “Check Demand Draft.” You just send your paper check to the biller via FAX machine instead of sending it through the mail. This method of payment has only been in use for past decade or so. There are two cons to this method right off the bat: many people don’t use it because they don’t have access to a FAX machine. Plus, not all businesses accept this form of payment.
It’s actually pretty simple to use, though. You generally need to arrange a FAX authorization with the companies you intend to pay in this manner. Then, you write out paper checks as normal, and you send them to the billers. The billers, in turn, are able to withdraw the amount of your check from your bank account.
The pros of “Check by FAX” include:
1. Your check goes directly from your FAX machine to the company’s FAX machine. The company will receive your payment the very same day you send it.
2. There are no postage fees.
3. The chances of your FAX getting lost are minimal.
Now that you have the facts laid out before you, you’ll have to decide the answer to the question:
Check by FAX or Check by Mail- which one is the best payment method for you?