US Companies Cling to Checks, says AFP

The 2013 AFP Electronic Payments Survey shows that despite the continued decline in their use, US companies cling to checks as their main method for business-to-business (B2B) payments. Paper checks still account for about 50% of B2B payments and their rate of decline has slowed compared to previous surveys.

Key findings include:

  • Organizations make 50% of their B2B payments by check, down from 57% in 2010, 74% in 2007 and 81% in 2004.
  • Large organizations – those with revenues over $1B - use checks for only 40% of their B2B payments, while small organizations use checks for 63% of such payments.
  • 70% of organizations are struggling to convert to electronic payments. The top barriers to adoption are:
    • (82%) Difficulty convincing customers to pay electronically
    • (74%) Difficulty convincing suppliers to accept e-payment
    • (71%) Shortage of IT resources
    • (70%) Lack of standards for remittance data
    • (66%) Lack of integration between payment and accounting systems

ACH and wire payments are gaining ground but at slower rates. This is likely due to the fact that the check itself has evolved (paper checks are being "electronified" via check imaging and ACH conversion) and interest in alternate payment methods such as mobile is gaining momentum.

Mobile banking and payments have received a lot of attention, but the focus has been primarily on consumer applications. 10% of companies accept mobile payments from consumers, up from 2% in 2010. Still, 60% do not plan to accept mobile payments from customers.