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The End Is Near!!

The end of personal checking is near. According to a British financial publication British banks will abolish checking within ten years. How long before American banks will follow, if they don’t end our checking services even sooner and what does this mean for collectors? In Europe all the banks are part of the “IBAN” system which supposedly makes bank account to bank account money transfers very easy and economical. If we had a system like that in the USA I would gladly moth ball my check books, but sadly we don’t. Here in the USA banks dream of the day that they no longer have to deal with the expenses of personal checking. They also hate the thought of all those short term loans that we write ourselves (the time between when we write our checks and when they get cashed) which the banks can’t collect interest on. The fact that many of us in the US have already given up check writing in favor of credit cards is also pointing to our future. But what kind of future will it be? Once checking is gone we will have eliminated that option or to put it another way we will have burned that bridge behind us. As collectors we buy and sell many more times than the average non-collector type person. Buying should not present many problems but selling is a different story. Since we will be forced to use services like Paypal, Google-checkout and the like, we will be subject to their rules. For example if you use Paypal. you better not sell any Nazi stuff, or even an Imperial German medal group with the lone Nazi era long service medal in it. If you want to pay your dues to a collector site like Wehrmacht Awards you can’t use Paypal unless you are willing to lie, be devious and risk paying a hefty fine that you agreed to when signing the user agreement. If you use other less restrictive services you will still run the risk of fraudulent charge-backs were by a crooked buyer can get their money refunded without ever returning the defective item or proving that the item never arrived! “That is a cost of doing business” I have been told. Added to that cost is the additional service charge per transaction of about 4%. This percentage will increase when we have no other options available to us, you can bet on that. With all that said and done there is yet a much larger secret risk threatening us, computer hacking! You will not hear much about that unless you listen closely. Currently internet security can only hope to catch up with new threats as they appear and hope that between the time the new threats are recognized and blocked, serious damage has not already been done; like all the money in your bank accounts vanishing. We have all heard of successful hackings into big corporate and major bank data bases plus some of the attacks on our defense department computer systems. These are just the reported attacks. Many similar attacks and breaches go unreported due to intentional cover-ups. Smaller local banks are even more vulnerable. So think of that when you set up an automatic withdrawal plan to pay your credit card charges. Throughout my life time I have written thousands of checks and used credit cards on the inter-net only about a dozen or so times. The only time I have ever been ripped-off was through my credit card use on the internet. The future is coming and the only thing we can do now is to resist by continuing to use our checks in the hope that slowing it down will buy us enough time to make the future safer when it is finally forced upon us. Happy New Years to all that read this, Fred