Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It only took a half century to phase out the paper check

When I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, my dad worked for the U.S. Treasury Department. While he helped to implement the computer systems that printed checks for a wide variety of government workers (including, during the summers of 1980-1982, myself - and no, he didn't add extra 0s to my check amounts), he also realized that paper checks were not necessary, and that checks could be deposited into accounts via direct deposit. This began in 1972, and was available nationwide by 1978.

Well, over a quarter century later, the end is near for paper checks:

In a move figured to save U.S. taxpayers an estimated $1 billion over the next decade, the U.S. Department of Treasury is retiring the paper Social Security check in favor of direct deposits....

People who currently receiving their federal benefits by paper check must switch to direct deposit by March 1, 2013.

While I like to get my music in a tangible fashion (I'd rather buy a CD than buy electronic music files), I've long since accepted the reality of direct deposits. We'll see how others feel about this. If they're concerned, they can read the FAQs.
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