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A Short History of Checks

The history of the check begins in the first century, though they were not the popular method of payment they would eventually become until the sixteenth century. In the eighteenth century, England suppressed the use and distribution of banknotes, and this suppression led to increased popularity of checks. Eventually the American economy contributed to the growing use of checks in the nineteenth century by discouraging other forms of payment in favor of checks, even forming a national check payment system. Checks quickly became preferable to lines of credit because of the check’s ease of use. Though this form of payment makes businesses more susceptible to fraud and scams, a large percentage of American transactions are paid with a check to this day.

Why We Still Need Checks

One of the prevailing myths about checks is that they are becoming obsolete. Some people believe that with the rise and prevalence of the internet, there will soon be (or there already is) no need for the paper check any longer. The practice of balancing one’s paper checkbook has been replaced with a digital checkbook if not done away with altogether. The check, however, still has its role in personal and corporate finance.

Writing checks and maintaining a checkbook makes it easier to keep track of finances. If, for example, you were to take a vacation, a day of handing over a credit card to get this or that overpriced trinket can lead to a surprising bill. Writing checks, however, makes it easy to keep track of your spending through a ledger by i to simply making you slow down as you write the total twice,

Furthermore, one of the many reasons to continue the use of checks is that you are not always paying a company. Paying rent, taxes, or a privately sold used car does not always afford you the opportunity to pay with a credit card and yet the person may still want the money. Of course, you can carry cash, but there will be times when relatively expensive payments will need to be made without much notice. In this case the personal check is the most advantageous form of payment.

Funny Messages to Write in Check Memos

Writing checks is not often the most pleasant of experiences. Essentially, you are filling out your end of a contract that says someone else has your permission to take your hard earned money from your account, and so filling out that contract is not usually something we look forward to. To make the experience a little more enjoyable (and to embarrass the person who will be cashing it) it can be fun to write a message in the memo line. The line is on the bottom left corner of the check and is there solely for the check-writer’s convenience. It is usually a place in which the writer will remind him or herself why the check was written in order to make sense of his or her checkbook later. There are no hard and fast rules for what must be in the memo line, so why not take a moment to have a little fun; here is a list to help you get started:

  • Go-go lessons
  • Ransom
  • You’re fired
  • For Courage (or a brain, or a heart)
  • Hush money
  • It’ll be our little secret
  • For my snookie-uckums (for a man)


How to Write Checks

What Information Does a Check Hold?

Bad Checks and Scams

Staying Safe

Types of Checks

The Future and Present of Checks

Practical Information


Payment Processing