Becky Says...

June 25, 2001

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I hate that checks aren't as much fun as they used to be. It's never been all that much fun to have to keep up with bill payments, of course, but what I'm thinking of is the banking practice of not returning cancelled checks.

That takes any fun out of balancing a checkbook. It used to be fun to get an envelope with all the checks in it that were part of that statement, and put them in order. You could see how different banks processed their customers' checks. You could see how people and organizations endorsed their checks. In a way, it was like playing solitaire with a new deck of cards every month, especially if you could forget for a bit that there was money involved.

And you could then deal with the checks that hadn't cleared, if you had to do that. The best times, of course, were when all the checks you wrote had cleared, and all the balances worked out without your having to give them much thought at all. That meant you won the solitaire round for the month, and could go do something else.

There are other things about checking accounts that aren't all that much fun. I realized checking could be a real pain when I was first dealing with balancing my mother's checkbook. It wasn't that she hadn't kept up with the check register; it's that the account was one of those set up to draw interest, and there was always a slightly different balance than I thought there ought to be. It never failed that the bank statement showed more money than I thought was in the account, but their statement method at that time made finding the amount of interest earned almost as easy as finding a needle in a haystack.

The bank finally changed how the statements were done, and I was glad. I had enough other things to go insane about. Oh--and they stopped driving me nuts with the weird statements before they quit enclosing the checks. I will give them points for that.

Text copyright 2000-2001 Becky