My chequebook, my saviour

I’VE FALLEN IN LOVE WITH my chequebook again. It’s hard to believe but my chequebook is now a must for me. I ditched it four years ago – with the super speedy way we can order and pay for almost everything online, I thought there was no need for a chequebook. If I’m completely honest, part of me thought chequebooks were only used by OAPs or by people who could not grasp modern technology. I mean, do shops even accept cheques anymore? The last time I saw a customer in a shop writing a cheque and presenting it to the cashier along with a cheque guarantee card was in the 80s!

… and no worries about getting robbed… winner winner chicken dinner!

My reacquaintance with my chequebook was on the back of a sad event: my older brother died and I was covering his funeral costs. The complication was that he lived in Jamaica and I’m based in the UK. I contacted the funeral directors and enquired about payments – they did not have a credit card payment machine but I could make the payment online.

Being a cautious person, I transferred a small amount as a test – fifty pounds (I was charged ten whole pounds for the transaction!). Still, I’d rather be safe than sorry just in case I’d sent the full amount to the wrong bank account.

Five working days later, I WhatsApped the funeral directors… ‘Has the test money landed in your bank account yet?… No.” Ten working days later, same question, same response. Fifteen working days later, surely the money must have landed, but to my astonishment, it still hadn’t!

The time had come to travel to Jamaica for the funeral and not a penny had been paid to the funeral directors. The advice from them was that I could pay in cash once I arrived.

“I’m going to go to the bank, withdraw the money and pay the funeral directors.” My cousin’s response was instant as he sipped on a glass of Kingston 62 rum, “That’s a bit risky isn’t it? You could get robbed carrying that amount of money… don’t you have a chequebook?”

My goodness, what a super idea! No handling of cash, no worries about withdrawing a huge amount of Jamaican dollars from the bank and no worries about getting robbed… winner winner chicken dinner!

This conversation with my cousin occurred the night before we both jetted out to Jamaica. I didn’t waste any time – I knew exactly where my chequebook was – I had seen it (and ignored it) in the messy kitchen drawer since 2018.

“How did you find it so quick?” My cousin was surprised. There was a timespan of one minute between him mentioning chequebook and me happily re-entering the room whilst flexing the rectangular book.

“Will you accept a cheque?” “Yes.” Phew! This was three days later, at the funeral directors office. After calculating the exchange rate, I want to say I swiftly wrote out the cheque, but the reality was that it took me two attempts. I made a mistake when writing the amount on the first attempt… thousands, tens and hundreds instead of thousands, hundreds and tens. I wasn’t sure if I needed to put the pence value in figures or words (58 pence or fifty eight pence) so I just rounded up to the nearest pound.

My chequebook, which had laid desolate since 2018, has been promoted from the messy kitchen drawer to a special place alongside my passport and other important documents.

So excited I was with my rediscovered benefits of my chequebook that I’ve recently renewed our National Trust membership by post. I know the cheque was filled out correctly as the money has been taken from my bank account and we’ve received our new NT membership cards.

I’m now confident about writing cheques and I’m looking forward to writing many more. The next opportunity could come very soon: I’ve spotted a few items I fancy in the Cotton Traders catalogue, the payment methods mentioned are debit card, credit card… and cheque.

Recommended retro reads:

  1. Blankety Blank: 80s special
  2. Marks & Spencer, Brenda, and the money lender
  3. C&A fashion

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4 thoughts on “My chequebook, my saviour”

  1. So sorry about your brother, I hope you and your family are coping.
    I have suddenly found myself in possession of a cheque book again after many years – after my husband died, the bank changed our joint account into just my name and they sent me a new chequebook for that (also a paying in book bit not sure how much use that is when all the branches are closing)
    Take care

    1. Thank you Christine. Yes, the paying in book is strange. I do wonder if eventually there will be no banks on the streets – would have been unthinkable 30 years ago!

  2. I don’t think I have written a cheque for a couple of years at least, everyone now prefers bank transfers it seems. Occasionally I am still sent cheques, by elderly relatives.

    1. I think there was talk a while ago about banks eventually getting rid of chequebooks as people don’t use them as regularly. Still, as you mentioned, you get cheques from elderly relatives and really it is a safe way of sending money without going down the tech route… it was a huge help to me in my situation. Thanks for your comment 🙂

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