A major advantage of checks is that they allow consumers to pay landlords, babysitters and others who do not commonly accept credit cards. They are also relatively safe to send through the mail, and if they are lost, they can easily be canceled.
Checks are a form of payment that is linked to a checking or savings account. In most cases, payers write checks to payees, and the money is not removed from the payer's account until the payee has deposited the check into his account. Called float time, this often gives the payer an extra day or two to put the funds into his checking account before they are withdrawn.
Checks can only be cashed by the person or business to whom they are written. This fact makes checks harder to steal than cash, making them a safe alternative for payees.
Checks can be converted into electronic checks. In order to write an electronic check, a payer needs the routing number and account number of his check. He gives these numbers to the vendor, who creates an electronic check. Electronic checks may be submitted to the bank immediately, eliminating float time. Electronic or paper checks are usually cheaper for payees to accept as they do not require fees like credit card payments do.