Pay by check? What’s a check?

The Federal Reserve System recently released its research on the continually evolving payments industry, 2016 Federal Reserve Payments Study, using 2015 payments data.  This research is used to establish the total volume and composition of electronic and check payments in the U.S., and help determine estimates and trends in payments.  The data estimates from the data study are available in a downloadable data table format here.

While it isn’t really news that we are using less cash and checks than we used to, the statistics of how rapidly that is occurring is interesting.  For example, total noncash payments per household jumped to almost 95 percent from 2000 to 2015.  These noncash payments included checks, card payments and electronic transfers via the automated clearinghouse (ACH) systems. Checks written per household fell to 7.1 per month in 2015, down from 19.3 per month in 2000.  Businesses are also increasingly replacing check payments with noncash payments.  In 2015, businesses wrote 24.1 checks per month on average, compared to 66.0 per month in 2000.  ACH transfers rose from 13.4 per month on average to 29.8 per month during the same time.

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