Steadfast FinancesWhat's the Best Form of Payment? Cash, Check, or Card?

What Form of Payment Do You Prefer?

Filed in Personal Finance 1 comments

We’ve all heard the saying that “cash is king,” but when it comes down to it, we often use a variety of forms of payment. The options available include: cash, check, debit, credit, or recently-available online payments. While I generally prefer my credit cards because of the cash back rewards, there are many reasons and/or occasions to use an alternative form of payment.

Many factors can influence which form you may prefer. In fact, there are quite a few influences that play a role:

  • Past financial history – going into a lot of debt with your credit card may make you shy away from them
  • Geographical location – certain areas in the country may accept various forms more than others
  • Where you shop most often – I find that locally-owned stores are more likely to request cash
  • How much you typically spend – who wants to carry thousands of dollars in cash around?
  • Personality type – If you are a visual person, you may prefer cash to electronic forms because you can visualize the amount easily.

While much depends on these factors, there benefits to each different form of payment:


Using cash has a lot of advantages. It’s easy to understand and remember how much you have left to spend. You can use it when buying things second hand off craigslist without having to get a certified check (to guarantee the money) and you don’t need electricity or fancy equipment to process the payment. It’s simple.


Using checks, in many ways, seem to be a thing of the past, but there are still many uses to them. They offer a little more protection when it comes to gifts or mailing items. If someone were to still a birthday card in the mail, it would be much more difficult to cash the check than it would to take the cash. If you need to wait for money to clear, you can post-date the check to ensure someone will wait before receiving payment so as not to cause any fees for you. It is also more secure in comparison to cash because it allows you to take your entire checking account with you (in a way) without feeling vulnerable to theft.


A debit card is a nice compromise between checks and credit cards. You don’t have to worry about filling out the check and you never have to worry about issuing a payment because it comes right out of your checking. It only takes a swipe to process any payment and allows you to get on your way faster. It’s also small and compact, while offering protection with a 4 digit pin number. What could be better?


Credit cards are a great way to enjoy all the convenience benefits of a debit card while also earning rewards. Many of these plastic card suppliers  come with teams which help protect you from fraud as well. It allows you to prove your competency with credit, thereby increasing your credit score. Beyond all of that, it allows you to purchase something without having to pay for it right away. While you will want to pay it off before the next payment date to avoid fees, it means that you don’t have to worry about if you have enough money in your checking account at the time of the transaction.

Online Payments:

Online payments are another thing of convenience. Most of these services are associate with banks and therefore offer top-notch security. It also means nothing to lose or steal (like a credit or debit card), so you can rest easy knowing that your funds are secure. Many banks also monitor the location of the user, so that if you make an online payment from out of the country, it will raise a red flag and notify you. One of the best advantages is being able to make a payment in a matter of minutes from the comfort of your home.

These different forms of payment all have their advantages. Most likely, you will use a combination of several (if not all) at some point in your life. I believe you will find a personalized combination that meets your needs and preferences.

Which forms of payments do you use most regularly?

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Posted by CJ   @   13 July 2012 1 comments
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Jul 15, 2012
4:03 pm

I’m a huge fan of our credit cards. Cash back is awesome and so is being able to see a record of our purchases staring back at me all month. With my husband and I using the same accounts, it is also much nicer to just use credit cards rather than worry about making big purchases the same day.

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