Friday, August 24, 2012

Cheque books ? What are they ?!

I have never had a cheque book, ever.

My first bank account was in India, naturally a joint account with my parents and they took care of everything. When I came to Germany in 2003 and opened my account, I had the wonderful world of online banking. All my expenses - rent, insurance, credit card etc. were set up in such a way that they were automatically debited from my account on specific dates every month. If I had to transfer money to anyone, I did it online. I had a debit/ATM card for everything else. All I had to do was login to my bank account once a week to make sure the transactions were correct and that I was not overdrawn.

Then came my first trip to the US in 2006 and everybody was writing everybody else cheques ! People were dropping off rent cheques, asking me to pay them in cheques and I didn't get it ! They were amazed that I didn't have a cheque book ! I was amazed that their banking system was still in ''stone age'' - I mean, writing a cheque, going to the landlord's place and giving him that in exchange of money is almost akin to the barter system.

Then I noticed, they were everywhere - Seinfeld, Raymond and Rachel were talking about them (they even made complete epsiodes with ''cheques'') and I was wondering how I missed the ''cheque wave''.

I wondered too soon because I opened a NRO account in India and got my first cheque book yesterday. I told appa about it and he went on and on about how I should ''write neatly'' (which in itself is an impossible task for someone like me who types the grocery list), ''cross'' it, make sure that my signature corresponds exactly to the ''sample'' the bank has (is that even possible ? I mean try signing twice on the same paper and see if they match exactly !) and finally make a note of the cheque number and other details before using the cheque. It sounded simpler to fly to India, meet the person in question and give him cash !

So now there is a book in my house that I would probably never use but safely store as an ''artifact'' to remember fondly that I once owned a cheque book, a never-going-to-be-used cheque book.


  1. May be not... Once you start using a cheque book, you'll find that it is the safest way of banking.. May be if you are intending to settle abroad for life,then I guess you'll continue to do online banking.. Else, in India,Cheques are the best way of Banking. I started writing cheques as early as Class Seven :) just to learn the first steps of banking, I was taught to write cheques, pay in slips.. Now what are these?? :) When you drop off a cheque in a bank, they will ask you for a pay-in slip which says to which account u want the amount credited. You also have a 'Challan' which is a tear-off page that you can store for your reference. :)

    How have u been? As usual, its refreshing to read your write ups. I totally love your language.

    Keep it up and keeep writing...

  2. @Dewdrop
    Online banking is catching up in India too, maybe by the time I come back the challans and cheques would be a thing of the past or I am going to be in big trouble :D !

  3. Good to see your posts again! I have been following your blog for quite long, ever since I decided to do my masters in Germany (About a year maybe?), and I could quite connect with all what you felt, me too being a Chennai-ite!

    Couldn get through some colleges in Germany, and finally I am now in Sweden at Chalmers University to do my Masters in Automotive engineering, So I guess I can say we are fellow Schengen-ites now!

    Please do find time to blog and keep up the good work..



  4. Been following this blog ever since I decided to study abroad (about a year maybe?) in Germany.. and I really liked how this blog is full of Indian flavour :) I can relate to it so much being a fellow Chennai-ite...

    And as things turned out, I couldn get admits at the German university I wanted (RWTH) bcoz those ppl suddenly decide to cancel the course for Fall 2012..

    So one thing led to another and now I am going to start my Masters in Automotive engineering at Chalmers University, Gothenburg, Sweden. And this blog has inspired me to contribute to a similar blog which will help prospective students who want to study at Sweden..

    So please do find time and blog, the inherent humour does put a big smile on my face with every post!


  5. @Ashwin
    Flattered, thanks :) and yes, will consciously make an effort to blog more often.

    You must be appreciated for helping students who wish to come to Sweden. Nee nadathu :D aka Keep up the good work !

  6. Cheque is an important means of payment. Cheque is used for paying a large sum of money. It is the most widely used tool for drawing money from the bank. Cheque is used by the buyer or debtor to pay the due amount of goods to his seller or creditor out of his bank deposit.

    Learn More

  7. @Hayley, I know :) but I have only lived in countries where everything is digital and cheque books are obsolete


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