I recently did some work for a client and asked them about invoicing, after learning the hard way how specific companies work in terms of cost centers and billing. divisional calculation.
When you’re freelance, 30 or 60 day notice terms for payment can be really important. Annoyingly, my bank won’t allow me to pay the mortgage when the customer completes bill rotation. Cheeks!
This organization (a large semi-state) asked for my address. Why? So they can send me a check.
The extremely efficient EU banking system known as the European Common Payments Area (SEPA) is not for them. Retail banks and their corporate customers also do not facilitate extremely reliable interbank money transfers.
An interesting classical approach fits this institution.
So, a few days later, a check arrived, with a letter in a paper envelope. It is drawn on a Danish bank that no longer operates in the domestic Irish market.
I put it in another paper envelope with a stamped, deposit slip and mailed this to my bank, less than 2km from where the issuing company is located.
Now listen, money is money, so I’m not complaining. They paid faster than most.
But it makes me think about the general demise of checks. Twenty million of them are written by 2021. That sounds like a growing industry but it is shrinking considerably. That is only half the number of checks written in 2017.
I still have a checkbook and when I switch banks, I tend to ask for one at the new bank. Just because.
Forms of promissory note or bill of exchange have been evident since the 9th century.
The Venetians officially developed them in the 1400s – when they operated a major financial center – to facilitate the cross-border sale of glass, silk and other goods. This means that traders do not need to carry gold or silver, which can make them vulnerable to robbery.
There are some beautiful examples of handwritten checks in the museum – great calligraphy on vellum.
Before euros, travelers checks were as essential as your passport during vacations. I remember queuing at foreign banks and being ripped off when my bright Thomas Cook checks were converted into escudos, pesetas, or lira.
Then there’s the Eurocheque, which is a great invention, because they’re cheaper and if you lose them you can replace them.
These days, you’re more likely to only see a check when someone wins the lottery, and the National Lottery people print out a giant check for a photo shoot.
Michael O’Leary once issued a giant pretend check to the incumbent Taoiseach (“Dithering Bertie”, once) to highlight howUnlike some millionaires, he paid taxes in Ireland.
Difficult instructions and clear handwriting are essential – a lost art today. If we can get over the environmental unfriendliness, can we get them back?
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/the-humble-cheque-is-on-the-way-out-which-is-kind-of-sad-41401276.html The humble check is on its way out, a bit sad