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Convenience Checks January 8, 2008

Posted by pf in Expenses and Savings.
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Quite often, I won’t go through any recent mail until the end of the week.  For items that are certain to be solicitations, it might be a month or more before I even bother.  Typically, I will retire to my “library” with a sizable stack and go through each one with almost everything finding its way to the “round file”.

This week, I had quite a few offers from my existing credit card accounts to use their convenience checks so I might access some quick cash…up to my allowable limit, of course.  Generally speaking, I have no problem with financial institutions offering various tools such as these convenience checks so that I might have more options available to me as far as managing my finances.  I know some people feel differently, but I don’t think it’s their job to save me from myself and make sure that I don’t behave irresponsibly with my money.  My primary expectation is that they clearly outline the terms and conditions of whatever is being offered and don’t make to search too hard to figure it out.

Anyway, these convenience checks are usually pretty standard:

  • Can be written to a vendor or yourself
  • Typically up to your allowable credit limit
  • Often comes with a promotional interest rate
  • Usually involves a transaction fee (ex: 3% with a minimum of $10 or a max of $90)

This is all well and good.  Occassionally, I have seen a few offers that were pretty darn good.  Specifically, I remember one where the terms included 0% interest for the life of the loan (provided you don’t violate any terms of your credit agreement and get hit with a higher rate).  Unfortunately, (actually its quite fortunate) I don’t usually have any outstanding debt other than my home, and so don’t have much use for them.  Of course, in hindsight, I wish I had gone ahead and grabbed the cash and made some interest on it!  However, I digress.

The one issue I have with these convenience checks is that they are allowed to send me the actual checks.  I just feel this is asking for trouble as far as someone being able to use them without your knowledge.  Granted, you aren’t going to be on the hook for it, but the thought of having to go through the whole hassle of something like that gets me all fired up.  I just don’t think they should be allowed to put me at additional risk for theft and all the potential trouble that comes with it. 

Alas, like our inability to easily freeze our own credit, I suspect that my wishes will go unfulfilled.  So, in the meantime, I will continue to make confetti out of these convenience checks and pretend that it’s pretty snow while it floats down into the round file.

Comments»

1. TFB - January 12, 2008

You can actually opt out of those if you don’t want them. I called all my credit cards and all of them took me off the list for convenience check mailings.


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