On Checkbooks

On Checkbooks January 4, 2017

What about you? Do you use a checkbook?

By Lauren Zumbach:

Despite the ease of paying with a tap on a smartphone or swipe of a credit card, Americans don’t appear ready to ditch their checkbooks just yet.

For the first time since Americans began abandoning checks for other forms of payments in the mid-1990s, the decline in check usage has slowed, according to a recent Federal Reserve study looking at the types of payments — other than cash — U.S. consumers and businesses use. .

Between 2012 and 2015, the number of check payments declined by 4.4 percent per year, on average, compared with a 6.2 percent average yearly drop during the 12 prior years, the Federal Reserve said. In the three years ending in 2015, the value of all check payments only fell about 0.5 percent per year.

That might be because most people who don’t like paying by check already have switched, said Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at For some transactions — think paying your handyman — a check still may be the easiest way to pay, he added.

“If those sorts of folks can more easily incorporate mobile payments into their services, maybe that would ramp up the decline again, but it’s hard to know,” he said.

When we do crack open our checkbooks, it tends to be for bigger-ticket purchases.

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