Nothing personal: Two grocery chains attempt to ban check-writing customers


In a move that highlights the shifting face of American banking, two large grocery chains are changing the way they let customers pay for food. Fresh & Easy has stopped taking personal checks at its 70 California stores, and Whole Foods Market (WFMI) is testing a check-free policy at two Los Angeles stores and one in Arizona.

Amid today's endless array of payment options, it's easy to forget that checks represented the ultimate in banking convenience just a few decades ago. Before ATMs, debit cards, and easy access to credit cards, most consumers relied on checks to buy things at stores, supermarkets, and malls. Many grocery stores let customers write checks for more than their bill, amounting to basic cash withdrawals that could be conducted without a trip to the bank.

Originally published