My daughter recently took a job at a retail store, a national chain that still offers to pay her with a hard copy of a check. The employees are encouraged to opt for direct deposit, but the good old paper check is still an option.
I strongly encouraged her to choose the hard copy, thankful that some businesses still operate with this system that seems to have worked effectively since the ancient days of bartering. I only wish our government would provide the same option.
Our federal government has a strict direct deposit policy, which requires that all monthly checks issued must be sent to a bank account. In the event the recipient does not have a bank account, the government opens one on his behalf.
The reasoning, so claimed, is that the policy is environmentally friendly. Direct deposit, through which checks are issued electronically, eliminates the use of paper. The argument seems insincere, given that the banks send along with your notice four pages worth of options they offer to do with your money.
Another excuse, offered only after I had contacted several times my local congressman, was that direct deposit saved the government millions of dollars on postage. I knew this claim to be not only lame, but also untrue.
The cost to mail me a monthly check at current rates would cost less than five dollars per year. The U.S. Government, however, has a greatly reduced postage rate, making the cost per mailing closer to three dollars than five. All in all, the government spent at least five times that postage total when they bailed out the banks not too long ago.
Thus, our not so “fine”-nancial institutions receive our checks, and then are free to set charges on us if we do not abide by their rules. They penalize us if we transact with the cashier too often; they penalize us when we do not perform enough transactions; they fine us when we use an ATM; and they take a cut from our favorite businesses each time we pay with credit or a debit card.
Because of this policy, the traditional joy of “Pay Day” has been diminished. Lost is that intrinsic pleasure of holding your check in your hand, virginal and unblemished by contact with corrupt institutions.
I fervently suggest that my daughter, and the minority of those workers still with the choice, opt for the actual check instead of direct deposit. they should appreciate the rare opportunity to avoid ever-increasing government intrusion.