In Pennsylvania, I Still Need My Checkbook


5 January,2015

I’ve been trying to phase out my checkbook. I don’t often use cash or check because there are so many other ways to pay that are so much more convenient.

However, since moving to Pennsylvania, my checkbook has been making something of a comeback. I was surprised, upon moving here, at some of the changes to my financial system. I need cash more, and I even need my checkbook on occasion.

Official Transactions Require a Check

One of the most surprising things I experienced when I went to get my driver’s license is the fact that PennDOT doesn’t accept credit card. You need to bring cash, check, or cashier’s check. I was surprised, since in the west it’s fairly common for driver’s license issuers to run your credit card. At any rate, I had to bring my checkbook to the driver’s licensing building, and it was frustrating, since I had to find it first.

Also, the place where I get auto tags also doesn’t accept credit card. I’m going to have to bring my checkbook to complete that transaction as well. Of course, I could go to the bank first and get cash, or have a cashier’s check issued, but that means more errands. I’d rather save the time and just bring the checkbook, even though it’s a little strange for me to be carrying it about.

Changing My Money Habits

Of course, any move requires getting used to changes. You will always need to learn the ways of your new area, and get settled in. However, it’s been a little strange for me to get used to the idea that some stores don’t take credit card, and that I need to have plenty of cash on hand — or bring a checkbook. Even some of the parking lots require cash. The commuter lot I left car in one day required several minutes of hunting up change in my car, since it didn’t accept credit card.

As a result, I’ve been trying to change the way I do things. While I’m not comfortable carrying a lot of cash, I’ve made it a point to carry more than I did in the past. This means that I regularly make trips to the bank to get cash out. In fact, I’ve started taking more money out of the bank and keep a bigger store of cash at home in a safe place so I can restock my wallet without needing to go to the bank.

I’m also aware of where my checkbook is, and I keep it where I know where it is at all times so that I can grab it if needed. I don’t like the idea of needing paper as much, but I am getting used to it. After doing things digitally for so long, it’s weird to get used to cash and check — especially since there were so many places in Utah that wouldn’t even accept checks. It’s getting to be a part of my life again, but hopefully I won’t get too used to it, since the hope is that plastic and digital payments become increasingly prevalent.