Poll Finds Consumers Dropping Paper Checks

By George Ford, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Chalk up another potential casualty of the Internet.

A new poll by GoBankingRates.com finds with the increasing availability of mobile and online banking options, traditional checking account products like personal checks are falling out of usage. Online bill pay, peer-to-peer payment apps and other, more convenient ways of moving money are taking their place.

GoBankingRates.com asked 1,501 bank customers how often they wrote personal checks. The most common response was "never" (37.8 percent), followed by "several times a month" (25.6 percent), "a few times a year" (20.5 percent) and "once a month" (16.1 percent).

The youngest demographic polled, those 18 to 24 years of age, were most likely to never write checks. Older respondents, those 55 years of age and older, were more likely to write checks several times a month.

Women are more likely to write checks than men and every respondent earning $150,000 or more said they write checks several times a month.

GoBankingRates.com said respondents who live in the western United States are more likely to never write checks than those in any other region. Rural respondents were more likely to write checks several times a month than those living in urban and suburban areas.

The Financial Brand reported in October 2013 that research by Fiserv found 60 percent of respondents make a payment using their laptop or desktop computer at least once a month. Thirty percent have made a payment using a mobile phone and another 22 percent have used a tablet computer.

The switch to electronic payments has led to consolidation of check clearing houses in recent years.

An estimated 150 regional check clearinghouses operated in 1997, according to the U.S. General Accounting Office. In the last decade, many of these closed or were merged into larger organizations as the volume of paper checks continued to decline rapidly.
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