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Locked out Canada Post employees holding a rally are reflected in a window as mailboxes are seen inside the main post office in Vancouver, B.C., on June 27, 2011. (DARRYL DYCK/DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Locked out Canada Post employees holding a rally are reflected in a window as mailboxes are seen inside the main post office in Vancouver, B.C., on June 27, 2011. (DARRYL DYCK/DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Start: Mark Evans

When the cheque's not in the mail, other ways to get paid Add to ...

The recent strike by Canada Post was obviously unwelcome news for many people who depend on mail service for both personal and professional reasons.

For businesses, the strike was particularly painful because it meant cheques were not being delivered. No cheques, no money, no good.

The continued use of cheques by many businesses is pretty surprising at a time when there are a growing number of other digital and electronic options for receiving payment for services and products.

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Here's a rundown of some of the options, and the pros and cons of using them:

Interac e-transfer:

Through an online bank, payments can be sent and received via e-mail. It is an easy process that requires the user to select the account they want to use, the amount of payment and the recipient's e-mail address or mobile telephone number.

Pros:

  • Security provided by using an online bank
  • Ease of use
  • Ability to receive payments instantly
  • No need to share personal or financial information

Cons:

  • The payee may be charged a transaction fee, which can range depending on the financial institutions involved
  • Requires the payee and payor to use online banking with a financial institution linked to Interac

Direct deposit:

Payments are sent directly to someone's bank account

Pros:

  • Quick, instant payments

Cons:

  • Requires the recipient to provide companies with their banking information

PayPal:

The world's leading digital payment system makes it easy to send and receive money around the world.

Pros:

  • Instant payments
  • Secure
  • Payments can be sent to a bank account or credit card
  • No need for payees or payors to disclose their financial information

Cons:

  • Recipients have to pay a commission ranging from 1.9 per cent to 2.9 per cent plus 30 cents per transaction fee if services or products are being purchased.
  • Payees and payors need a PayPal account.

Cash:

The cold, hard stuff still has a place.

Pros:

  • Instant payment that can be spent immediately, no need to cash a cheque

Cons:

  • May be uncomfortable walking around with large sums of money after receiving payment.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Mark Evans is the principal with ME Consulting, a communications and marketing strategic consultancy that works with startups and fast-growing companies to create compelling and effective messaging to drive their sales and marketing activities. Mark has worked with four startups - Blanketware, b5Media, PlanetEye and Sysomos. He was a technology reporter for more than a decade with The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News and the Financial Post. Mark is also one of the co-organizers of the mesh, meshmarketing and meshwest conferences.

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