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Diatribe: Is It Time To Start Writing Checks Again?
Years ago, when online banking first appeared on the scene, I was skeptical. There was no way, I told myself, that I would let the internet determine when my bills would be paid. I wanted to maintain control of when each check was signed and when each enveloped was stamped and mailed. It truly believed it would be too easy to make mistakes using a computer to pay bills and handle finances.
But, like most of us, I slowly became more comfortable with the concept of online banking. Eventually, all but a few of my bills came to be paid via my banks online service. With each passing month I grew to rely on the service and, as my confidence increased, I investigated the concept of automatic payments.
Once I learned to do my banking online it was simple, really, to anticipate automatic deposits, withdrawals and scheduled payments without having to physically go to the bank or the post office. All I needed was a password and, sometimes, the answer to a simple security question. It took just a few clicks and you could pay all your bills in just a few minutes at your computer.
Times have certainly changed. It seems to me that efforts to maintain online security have become so severe that, today, it’s actually become more convenient to write a check and mail it than to maneuver through the various passwords and identity verification software programs that have surfaced in a continuing effort to protect us all from each other.
If I check my balance from my smartphone and then try to move money from savings to checking using my laptop, I have to prove that I’m me because the bank’s website doesn’t recognize the device that I’m using. Then, if I use a tablet the next time or a desktop computer I have to prove again and again that I’m really me.
It’s quickly becoming faster and more convenient to write checks than to pay bills online!
Mother’s maiden name. Father’s middle initial. Favorite childhood friend. First pet. Make of your first car. Hospital that you were born in. Name of high school newspaper. Egads!
It’s gotten to the point that I have, literally, dozens of passwords and dozens of security questions to remember. Every reasonably sane person I know has taken steps to write all this information down somewhere so they don’t forget it! This makes me wonder … are our identities really any safer than they were twenty years ago?
What do you think? Is it time to start writing checks again?
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