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Some grocery stores taking check use off shoppers' lists

September 21, 2009 |  1:10 pm

Fresh & Easy

Long before banks started locating branches inside supermarkets, grocery stores acted as informal financial establishments, cashing payroll checks and personal checks to provide ready cash for their customers.

That's starting to change.

Whole Foods Market Inc. is considering banning the use of personal checks at its stores and this month stopped accepting checks at two stores in Los Angeles County and one in Arizona as a test. Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, the California division of British retailing giant Tesco, won't take personal checks at any of the 70 stores it operates in California. "Supermarkets used to be a repository of checking, cashing payroll and personal checks, but in an age of direct deposit and debit cards, that's not something that is relevant to their customers anymore," said Mac Brand, a Chicago food industry consultant. Read more here.

--Jerry Hirsch

Caption: Fresh & Easy stores in California, including this one in Azusa, don't accept checks or manufacturers' coupons. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times