Even though a lot of people seem to be using credit cards exclusively for incidental purchases these days, the truth is checks are still a preferred method of payment for a lot of people.
It doesn't make sense not to accept checks, since most people will expect to have that option, but there are certainly some things to worry about when you do accept checks. There's always the danger that someone has stolen the checks from their rightful owner or that they just don't have the money to pay for what they're writing the check for.
There will always be some risk involved in accepting checks, but these days technology makes your life a little easier with an invention known as a check reader.
A check reader is basically a scanner that the check is fed into. It reads the check and automatically debits the check writer's account at the time of purchase.
The money is deposited into your account within 24 hours -- you don't even have to drive to the bank and physically deposit the check.
Using a check reader means you'll know before the customer leaves the store if he or she has written a bad check. You'll also get your payment a lot more quickly than if you used the traditional method of accepting a check, depositing it into your account and waiting for it to clear.
A check reader can take a lot of the guesswork out of accepting checks and will make you feel more secure when accepting checks for high-dollar items. Posting a sign that you have a check reader will make customers aware of the system and prevent people from writing bad checks in the first place.
Check readers are commonly available from the same companies that provide payment processing for credit cards and merchant accounts. Some companies even provide this equipment for free to people who are interested in using it.
You'll no longer have to limit yourself to only accepting checks from the local area in case you have to try to track someone down who wrote a hot check. The reader will do all the work for you and tell you in a matter of seconds if the payment has gone through, regardless of where the customer's bank is located.
There's no reason not to get a check reader. You'll get paid faster and know immediately if someone is writing a bad check. At the end of the day, you'll know that the money you made today is going to be in you account tomorrow. What could be better?