The days when writing a check to pay a bill or balanced owed was standard procedure are over. Today, most businesses and merchants accept cash and either credit or debit cards. Many businesses no longer accept personal checks or business checks from clientele. One of the reasons many establishments do not accept checks is to protect business. It is entirely too easy for a patron to walk into a business, write a check for items purchased, and walk right out. If that check clears, it clears. If it does not, the patron still has the goods and the business is out the cost of those goods as well as a returned check fee.
The Difference in Speed
It is now common practice for merchant accounts to accept credit and debit cards. Credit card processing is so simple that some merchant accounts even have the ability to accept credit cards using their smart phones. Credit card processing is significantly faster than personal check processing. Say, for example, that a merchant accepts a credit card for payment of items sold. Once the merchant inputs the credit card number or swipes the card for processing, the funds are immediately removed from the bank account of the buyer. When a buyer uses a personal check, however, it can take several days for merchants to find out whether or not that check cleared or came back.
Why Businesses Should Still Accept Personal Checks
Despite the many reasons businesses might not want to accept personal checks as a form of payment, there is one good reason why businesses should continue to accept personal checks. Credit card processing is not free. Depending on the company and the type of credit card used, many small businesses find that the fees they pay per credit card transaction are too high. Accepting personal checks is another way for businesses to receive the funds owed to them without having to pay processing fees on each credit card payment.
Before any business decides to accept personal checks as a form of payment, however, business owners should require certain check policies. Businesses should accept checks only from local banks, checks that are personalized with the name of the account holder, the check number, and the personal information of the check holder, and check payments should be deposited as soon as possible. Some banks will not accept a check that is deposited more than six months after the date entered on the check.