3 min read • October 20, 2017
In the years after World War II, checks became ubiquitous. People used checks to pay for anything from their groceries to their vendors. A lot has changed since the 1950s – people use smartphones to access information anywhere, cars can now run on electric power, and we are experimenting with technologies like 3D printing. One thing has remained the same, however, and that is usage of checks to pay for business expenses.
Until recently, businesses haven’t had many alternatives to checks. Now, however, there are new technologies that enable businesses to make payments in an automated, more secure, and faster way. It’s time to stop using checks, and here’s why.
According to the 2017 AFP Payments Fraud and Control Survey, checks are, and have historically been, the payment method most often targeted by fraudsters. In fact, 75% of the organizations that were victims of fraud attempts or attacks in 2016 experienced check fraud. Considering that 74% of organizations were victims of payments fraud in 2016, that’s a lot of check fraud. Whether it is altering checks, creating duplicates of legitimate checks, stealing check books and committing forgery, or identity theft so that legitimate checks can be cashed in the wrong bank account, fraudsters have figured out how to use checks to scam businesses out of their money.
Checks are from a by-gone era of manual data entry. In many other areas of business, manual entry has been reduced or eliminated entirely, and it’s time to do the same for checks. With checks, bookkeepers, business owners, and executives must all spend several hours or even days per month entering payment information onto checks, signing checks, and mailing checks to the recipient. Once the payment is made, bookkeepers must spend another several hours manually entering payment data into the accounting software. Does this process sound inefficient? There is a better way – new online payment providers remove all of the manual data entry from the payment process, saving businesses time and money.
One of the benefits of running a business in today’s digital world is that much of it can be done remotely. Business owners no longer need to be physically present to have insight into sales performance, operating costs, and product development… but they do need to be present to write or sign checks. Many business owners assume that their physical presence is the cost of having oversight over payments and cash flow, but this is no longer true. New online payment platforms give business owners the ability to monitor and approve all payments remotely, which gives them both the ability to work from anywhere and retain full control over all of their business payments.
Many businesses have the perception that checks are free, or that they cost almost nothing. This, however, is a misconception. In fact, the average cost of a check ranges anywhere from $4-$20 once you include the cost of the check, postage, and other fees. For businesses that pay several vendors a month with checks, this is a significant cost. It’s time to wake up to the real fees you are paying, and find other payment solutions that will save you money.
Chances are, you aren’t using very many other 70-year-old technologies in your business, so why are you still using checks? Save yourself the headaches of fraud, high costs, and needless administration, and stop using checks today.