Plastic Transactions Speed Checkout, Offer More Protection
If you're rushed for time, try to get in a checkout line without check writers; it turns out that signature-based debit card and credit card transactions are nearly three times faster than checks. And when it comes to fraud, you have more protection with plastic, according to officials at Visa USA.
A research study by Visa USA and National Market Measures revealed that the average time to process a payment using a signature-based debit card was 26.1 seconds; it took a little longer—30.2 seconds—for credit transactions. In comparison, checks took a whopping 75.2 seconds. In-store interviews revealed that nearly half of all check writers incorrectly believed that checks are the fastest method of payment.
Despite recent media attention on fraud and fraud prevention, more than three-quarters of check writers mistakenly believe checks are the most secure form of payment. Check writers often are required to provide personal information—home telephone numbers, addresses, driver's license numbers, and in some cases Social Security numbers—at the top of the check for processing. Having the Social Security number and other identifying information on the check puts the check writer at risk of identity theft.
Never have your Social Security number preprinted on your share drafts/checks. If a clerk asks for your Social Security number, politely refuse, explaining that you're concerned about identity theft. If the store manager insists on writing your Social Security number on your check for payment, consider purchasing the goods at a different store.