A Millennials Checkbook | Rarer Than a Red Bananna In The Northern Hemisphere
The other day I was having a fatherly conversation with a couple of Gen Y’rs at my office, when I was hit with a reality roundhouse immediately followed up, by a clarity uppercut. You see, Marnie the 20 year old at my office revealed she had never written a check. Let me repeat myself.. A twenty year old with a full time job, has never written a check!
I was floored!
How does one function without the access to good ole fashioned check writing. I don’t understand. So, after I picked myself off the floor and dusted off my khakis, I realized maybe its not her that’s out of touch with today’s banking practices, perhaps its the person I see in the mirror twice a day brushing his teeth. It got me thinking, am I really that out of touch with younger generations, or is this a new phenomenon?
So, I did what any father would do in this situation, I debated….I strategized…about how I can turn this into a teachable moment. Ultimately, I decided it was time for me to bring my portable whiteboard to the office to give a class on the subject of check writing. Gen Y’ers are missing the boat here. I mean, this is foreign to me, I’ve always written checks, doesn’t everyone else write checks, balance their checkbook, and keep copies of everything?
Apparently I’m the one missing the skif,
According to this WE Pay survey, nearly 52% of Millenials have never written a check. And, it seems check writing across the demographic spectrum, is also on the decline. See here: Google Searches for “How to write a check” has dramatically increased in recent years. So, I’m guessing there’s been an increase of people trying to figure out how to write a check. So, maybe my giving a class on my whiteboard is not a half-baked idea.
So back to my 20 year old employee.
Marnie is someone whose been working a full time job for upwards of 3 years. She lives in a house where she’s doing a lease to own, and has a car with a loan to pay back. Presumably, she has electric and/or gas at her house, cable, an internet connection, and a cell phone. But, this is obviously not stopping her from getting her bills paid, sans the use of paper checks.
Why the move away from paper checks?
Banks are doing their part to nudge us into accepting an electronic process. The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, became Federal Law way back in 2003, with the express purpose of making it easier for financial institutions to electronically transfer check images, instead of physically transferring paper checks.
Gone are the days of 747’s full of pallets of checks, zig-zagging across this country, wasting copious amounts of carbon positive jet fuel. We have evolved as a society, we’re more mature and environmentally conscious. Truth be told; when a digital image of a check can be sent from one lending institution to another at the stroke of a key or the click of a mouse, how can we not accept this practice? That would be like Henry Ford not perfecting the combustion engine out of fear of upsetting the horse and buggy market.
So, it’s settled,
the benefits of ditching paper checks outweigh the costs, or at the very least, they break even. It looks like the U.S. will be following the way of The United Kingdom, who have adapted an aggressive plan to phase out the use of checks by the end of 2018. The U.S. being its own independent thinker, are still somewhat resistant to eradicating the use of check writing altogether, but we’re catching on.
So Marnie, maybe she’s the real hipster here. Maybe she’s shown me how to keep an open mind, and value the thoughts of a Gen Y’er. And, perhaps I’m the one who will ultimately be forced to conform to her way of doing business. Time will tell!
Let me know what you think about paper checks. Have you gone totally digital?
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