Whatever happened to …

cheques / chequebooks?

I took a look at the Padlet that’s open for ideas for this post and noticed this suggestion. It even came with its own questions so this post practically writes itself.

The whole notion of payments has changed over the past year for us. Around here, most payments at the point of sale has been Visa since our banker adviser suggested this particular card and the rewards that you get for use. Even a drive through at Tim Horton’s where our typical order would be a medium black coffee and a small black coffee is paid by tap at the window. We’ve also noticed, from other purchases, that the limit per purchase has increased. I’m guessing it’s to reflect the new reality.

Even buying gasoline is a tap away at most pumps. I do have to do a “grrrrr” as Canadian Tire pumps usually don’t like Visa tap. But Mastercard has never been an issue.

I had to smile when I read these questions because I’d be hard pressed to answer them accurately. I’m sure that we have a chequebook around here somewhere and I could hazard a guess as to where it is but I don’t use it and can’t remember the last time I did.

So, for a Sunday, what are your thoughts?

  • When was the last time someone gave/sent you a cheque?
  • When was the last time you wrote someone a cheque?
  • Do you still have a chequebook?
  • If so, when the cheques in your chequebook run out, will you order replacements?
  • When was the last time you went to the bank to deposit a cheque?
  • Have you ever use a program to print personal cheques directly from your computer?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

And, if you have a great idea for a Sunday morning topic, please add it to the Padlet or reach out to me personally with it.

5 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …

  1. Doug, it’s your “last time” question that really got to me. While I do have a cheque book, I rarely use it. My grandma in Nova Scotia used to always send me a cheque for my birthday as did my dad in Toronto. I’m thinking now about this, as the last cheques that I received from them were not long before they passed away. My very last cheque though came from the union after our strike days last year, just before COVID and the lockdowns. To think that at the time, the strike was my biggest concern. I wondered, “How will it ever end? The sides are too divided.” Then came COVID, and life and perspective changed. I wonder if a strike cheque was the last one for others too.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, I still have a cheque book and even know where it is! My wife and I write, maybe, three or four cheques a year, including the ones I have to write VOID across.

    Do you remember learning how to write them in Grade School? It seemed so complex and involved that when I actually started using them as an adult I felt certain I was forgetting to do a few things.

    When was the last time you bought or used a ‘Traveller’s Cheque?’ I don’t know if you can even buy them anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Good morning Doug!

    Ah, yes! The world of high finance and how it has changed!

    Perhaps you remember going to the bank as a child and opening your first account? Perhaps the occasion was prompted by the arrival of some birthday money? In my case, it was a five dollar bill that arrived in the mail from my grandmother. I remember my mom taking me to the bank, and how excited I was when the lady on the other side of the glass partition gave me the little book with the official-looking bank crest on the cover and my name handwritten inside. For a while, the transactions continued to be neatly recorded by hand in that little book, with the initials of the respective teller in the last column. The effects of grade-school instruction in cursive were clearly evident. I also recall that the bank’s records of the transactions (and your balance!) were recorded on a little card that the teller would retrieve from a set of indexed drawers. They were always able to find my card when I went into the bank, so clearly the system worked.

    I remember the day when teller took back my little book, and gave me a new one. It wasn’t because my little book was full, but rather because they needed the new one to work with their fancy new computer printer system. The original bank book opened like a traditional book, with the binding on the left side. The new bank books had the fold at the top and were slightly larger. I specifically remember marvelling at the fact that the computer system was able to somehow know where to resume printing when adding a new entry. Of course, with the printer and the computers, the little card and the tellers initials went the way of the dodo.

    Then came the client card. It looked like a credit card, but that was it. I was still too young for credit, but when the ATMs arrived, it meant that I could deposit or withdraw money without going all the way into the bank. A small alcove appeared at the bank entrance, and It was then possible to do your banking outside the normal banking hours! What a wonderful innovation! Not too long thereafter, you could not only access your account from other branches of your bank, but eventually use the ATMs of any bank because they were connected as part of the INTERAC or PLUS networks. (Of course, with that privilege came a service charge.) Periodically, the client card would stop working when the magnetic strip wore out, and the bank would send a replacement. After that happened a few times, I realized that the solitary little number on the lower right was is an index representing that particular issue of your card. My current card is indexed 26.

    Somewhere along the way, however, the savings account and the passbook gave way to a checking account and monthly statements in the mail. Around that time, I also would have become aware of the notorious service charges. As a paying-my-own-way student in Toronto, I recall the time spent balancing the chequebook and tracking each and every payment and service charge. For a good number of years those interact fees and service charges could really add up.

    So, after this little meandering, we arrive at the present day to ponder the question of cheques and checkbooks. It’s a most excellent question.

    I have to dredge my memory to think about when I last received a cheque. It’s been a while, but it might have been from the insurance company for the “hey you’ve been driving less during COVID” rebate? Maybe it was from the OTF for mileage to the Curriculum Forum in February 2020? Hard to say. However, it has been nice for several years now not to have to actually deposit a check at the bank, as the ability to deposit cheques with your smart phone has been another wonderful advancement.

    As for “Do you still have a chequebook?” “When was the last time you wrote a cheque?” and “Will you reorder more when your cheques run out?” — my closing story will provide all of those answers.

    In August 2019, I signed a lease for a condo in Toronto for my son and his friend, and provided the landlord with a dozen post dated cheques. When the time came to renew the lease a year ago, I opened my chequebook to find that I hadn’t used it since the last time I had written cheques for the landlord a year earlier! I also found out that I only had eight cheques remaining. I sent off the eight cheques, along with a note that I would forward the remaining four once the bank replenished my supply. When I placed the order for the replacement cheques (minimum 100), I was conscious that it was highly unlikely I would ever use them all. However, we shall see. 4 down, 96 to go.

    Liked by 1 person

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