Check usage in the US has been declining for many years, but thus far, predictions about the future have been less than reliable. Digital Check recently released a report titled "The Disappearing Check – How Long until the End?".
The report discusses factors that contribute to the decline, takes a mathematical approach to making realistic projections, and concludes that by 2020 checks will still be around in significant numbers. The report states:
- Contrary to popular belief, check usage is not declining at an accelerating rate. For about a decade, checks have been declining at a linear rate of approximately 2 billion/year.
- Credit Cards and mobile payments are not cannibalizing checks. In reality, check payments have migrated to ACH and Debit Cards, both of which withdraw funds from a checking or savings account, just like a check does.
- B2B payments are not the main reason why the paper check is still alive. C2B payments are still the largest category by far, at almost double anything else.
- The #1 reason for anyone to write a check today remains the mailed-in bill payment.
- Although C2B checks are declining, the rate is actually slowing.
- Percentage fees and lack-of-access are two issues preventing newer forms of payment from displacing the check in its stronghold
- The latest payment disruptors, mobile wallets and EMV cards, will have minimal impact on check usage because they focus on POS, where checks have already disappeared.