Monday, January 14, 2013

Trust me, it's good.

A little while ago I went to the bank to cash some Christmas cheques.  Elli got three of them and was extremely excited to get all of her money so she could buy tons of berry smoothie juice at the grocery store.  This puzzled the heck out of me but given that she usually throws her money at Barbie or even more stuffed animals I can't complain... but kids rushing off to spend allowance on 'no sugar added' juice?  Am I the only one?

The cheques I took to the bank had three names on them.

Ellie Roy
Elli Oakden
Ellianora Roy

Note that the last one is her real name.  The first one is the correct last name combined with a first name she doesn't go by, and the second one is a combination of nickname and wrong last name.  I kind of figured the cashier would tell me that I can't cash cheques for somebody else when the cheques aren't even made out to the right person but it was no problem.  I guess real thieves would go for bigger sums and be less conspicuous.  Of course from any practical perspective you can't be too surprised since a 50 dollar cheque being deposited by a long time client is hardly likely to be a forgery but it still makes me chuckle.

Security in our financial system is a big deal.  Our mint goes to great lengths to prevent fake currency and I am sure the banks pay a bazillion dollars to IT experts to make their online systems safe.  And yet, I can walk into a bank with a random piece of paper that says somebody owes Elli Oakden 50 dollars and they will happily deposit it into my bank account.  Maybe it is just my generation but I find cheques absolutely baffling.  Why do people use them?  How can banks justify this absurdity?  Is it just me, or is there really a divide between my parent's generation and mine where cheques go from normal to silly?


  1. The burden just ends up on the other end. If whoever wrote the cheque actually didn't want you to have it then they'd dispute it on their end after seeing the end result in their account. So if Elli Oakden is running around looking for her missing $50 and complains to whoever wrote it then the bank will bother digging into it. But for such a (relatively) small sum it's really not worth their while worrying about it until someone complains.

  2. I encounter this divide all the time at work with signatures. Really? Signatures?

    "Well, we can't be sure that that person approved this just because they sent an email from their own email account saying they did - after all, email accounts can be hacked. But a scribble on a piece of paper? Now I'm sure!"

  3. Yeah, especially a *photocopied* scribble on a piece of paper. Obviously legit!

  4. Just saves us having to carry cash. Does she take credit cards?