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Whole Foods No Longer Accepts Checks


kwhitney
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I got a surprise when I was at Whole Foods, yesterday. I went in to buy three bottles of wine, but found eight that I was interested in. When checking out, the cashier told me they don't take checks any more, only cash or credit. Needless to say, they lost that sale, and probably many more. This was news to me. Has anyone else experiened this?

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I got a surprise when I was at Whole Foods, yesterday. I went in to buy three bottles of wine, but found eight that I was interested in. When checking out, the cashier told me they don't take checks any more, only cash or credit. Needless to say, they lost that sale, and probably many more. This was news to me. Has anyone else experiened this?

It's been like this for at least a year, possibly closer to two. They had placards at the check out counters for several months prior to the switch. I doesn't affect me since I'm one of those people who leaves the check book in a drawer at home these days, but I was surprised to see them making that step

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I watched the woman in front of me at the Clarendon WF get denied when she tried to pay by check last Sunday morning. That is the first time I became aware of the switch, and I am in there every week. I guess the administrative costs of dealing with checks outweighs the service fees charged by credit card companies.

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Many stores don't do checks anymore. According to this article (from 2009), checks cost more to process and the risk is the store's if it's bad:

Taking a check at the register doesn't just jam up the lines (the clerk has to run a fraud check and scan the paper) -- it also poses a risk to stores. When a check is no good, it's the store that takes the hit. If a debit card has been stolen, banks cover the loss.

...

So why do banks offer such great protection? Because even after covering for losses from debit card theft, they still save big by not using paper.

The cost to fully process a single electronic payment can be less than 10 cents, says Neckopulos, of Hitachi Consulting. The cost to verify and process a check can be as high as $3.50.

If the costs to process a check was that high then, it's probably higher by now. In fact, given these costs for checks (which means banks would rather not process them) and the costs that credit card companies charge, could this be why many businesses (like IKEA) seem to prefer debit cards above all else? Lowest cost to process to everyone involved?

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It's been like this for at least a year, possibly closer to two. They had placards at the check out counters for several months prior to the switch. I doesn't affect me since I'm one of those people who leaves the check book in a drawer at home these days, but I was surprised to see them making that step

I remember seeing the placards out at the Old Town store, but it was more like early this year that they stopped taking checks. I remember mentioning it to my husband. It struck me since I hadn't written a check at a grocery store in such a long time and hadn't thought about it until I saw the signs. I assumed they did this chainwide at the same time, but the signs I saw just mentioned that particular store, so maybe they rolled it out store by store over time.

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I think the only checks I've written in years are for my kids' school PTA, but they're switching to credit cards next year too. Even the school cafeterias take credit cards. I'm down to the last book of 20 checks in my current box, so it might be years before I have to reorder.

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I pay our cleaning lady by check. Don't think I can set up online bill paying for an individual, or am I missing something?

Hmm. Paypal?

I suppose for person-to-person, a check is still about as safe as can be.

Depending on your bank, you can set up EFTs for a person. To try to keep this moderately on topic, you *can't* for an entity like Whole Foods where you don't have a recurring registered cost. If WF started doing credit accounts, like the little grocery store I used to go to as a kid, where I'd walk in and just charge it to my house account ... well, sure.

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I suppose for person-to-person, a check is still about as safe as can be.

If you trust the person, that's true, but someone can break into your bank account with the info printed on your check.

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I'm surprised your cleaning lady even takes checks. Next you'll tell me she's legal, too.

I employ the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. My cleaning lady apparently started a crew some time ago and for a while it was her husband who cleaned our house. Now I'm not sure who is coming over each time. One constant though - none of them speak English.

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Depending on your bank, you can set up EFTs for a person. To try to keep this moderately on topic, you *can't* for an entity like Whole Foods where you don't have a recurring registered cost. If WF started doing credit accounts, like the little grocery store I used to go to as a kid, where I'd walk in and just charge it to my house account ... well, sure.

I remember my mom using a house charge account at the local grocery store near our house. The same store (Eddie's up in Baltimore) opened a huge, brand new store a couple miles away, it was kind of like a local WF/Harris Teeter mash-up (including adjacent liquor store). I was surprised that they still do house accounts. It's the kind of thing that I imagine only local mom-and-pop's can do these days, but it was nice to see it on an operation of that scale.

Locally, and going in the opposite direction, FieldToCity (nee Timor Bodega) in Bloomingdale stopped taking credit cards and only accepts checks and cash now. You can also get a house account there.

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