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Keep the Change

Keep the Change

| August 01, 2023

I think we all would appreciate going back to a simpler, less complicated, less technological time. Sure, some of the conveniences are nice – but so much of the recent change seems to be overkill. Whether we are talking about companies going “paperless” or needing your car’s permission to change lanes or pull into the garage without it screaming at you. It’s all getting to be a bit much.

This month I thought we could look at three changes in play right now with your money. Not all these changes are bad – but remember, please don’t shoot the messenger…

Cash may be making a comeback. More and more retailers are starting to charge more to use a credit card. A 3% charge is not uncommon to use your card instead of cash. I am a big fan of using your card for points or cash back – but at 3%, it’s not worth it. Start paying attention at the point of sale to see if you are being charged to pay by card. There is also pending litigation that could remove some of the protections that credit cards offer in the case of fraud. We will try to keep you posted if we see additional changes to this. 

The check is not in the mail. Recently, the postmaster general issued a recommendation that we no longer mail checks through the post office system. The rate of check-related mail theft is now high enough that our own postal system sees this as a high-risk behavior. As most of you know, we prefer to move funds electronically through the ACH (Automated Clearing House) system. This is the same clearing system banks use for checks…for now. This may be a good time to move more of your bill paying to an online format through your bank. My guess is your grandkids may never write a single check in their lives.

Is today a bank holiday? Soon it won’t matter what day or time it is. Money will soon be able to move from banks to vendor or other banks seven days a week and 24 hours a day – virtually instantaneously. Beginning this last June, the Fed has a new program they are rolling out called FedNow. This system will slowly replace ACH and should remove the delays we sometimes experience with moving money and paying bills due to weekends, holidays and odd hours. Feel free to visit the link above to learn more about how it will work and when it will be rolled out. Of these three changes, the FedNow program seems like an improvement.

The biggest challenge to learning new processes when we get older is the difficult first step of unlearning. When you’re young, most things you learn are new! You learn the new way the first time and you’re good to go. The longer we do something one way, however, the more difficult it is to challenge that well-practiced behavior or process and accept a new way of doing things. As you know, it can be quite frustrating and disruptive. Again, please don’t shoot the messenger. I’m in this with you!

As we face these changes in the way we pay bills and move money around, please let us help! Being safe and efficient with our money is something we all value.