Last week was Richard’s birthday. And, as is the way with birthdays ever since we outgrew dolls and legos, Richard found himself at the end of the affair with a hand full of checks.
“I wish there was a way people could send each other money over the Internet,” he said. “Right from one bank account to the other.”
As a matter of fact, there are many ways to send money over the Internet, but they require signing up for an account, like PayPal, or paying a fee, like Popmoney.
Part of the reason Richard still receives checks is because the family sending them — like his octogenarian grandmother — don’t have a PayPal account and won’t be getting one.
But everyone has a Gmail account, right? Well, maybe not Grandma, but everyone else?
Google is now allowing Gmail account holders to send and receive money for free via Google Wallet. The receiver doesn’t even need to be a Gmail user. You just attach the money on your email just like a document or photo. There’s also a Google Wallet app for Android.
I use Popmoney to pay back my loans each month. And I pay $1 per transaction.
I’ve used PayPal to buy things online, before I had a credit card.
But imagine how much easier it would have been in college to get money from my parent’s (who both possess a Gmail account) online. No more schlepping to the bank to cash a check. No more getting emails from Dad reminding me to cash it because he wants to balance his checkbook.
And physical bank branches are closing.
My own bank, Citizens, has closed two branches in York County since I moved here two years ago. Unfortunately for me, they were the most convenient for me.
But when I think about it, how often do I need a bank branch?
1) When I need to cash a check
2) When I need cash
My pay checks are directly deposited. I pay my credit card online. I pay my loans online. I pay all my bills online.
The way that people use money are changing, so it makes sense that the way banks handle money also are changing.
I welcome this change.
Maybe next year, Richard will just get a birthday email from Grandma saying “Happy Birthday. Your gift is in your checking account.”