Americans Eager for Paper Checks’ Demise

July 12, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

You know it’s bad when there’s a hashtag devoted to it. It’s an attempt to draw interest from the social media community, and while it may not always work, it’s a sign that there’s at least some level of organization involved in its operations. Recently, we saw that #killthecheck may be gaining ground based on new surveys that reveal Americans would rather not have anything to do with paper checks.

The word from the study conducted by Viewpost is that over half of respondents believed that payments between business and consumer will be mostly mobile-based down the line. Just 11 percent think that companies will bill via paper checks, and 54 percent believe that will shift to requests on mobile apps.

Given that 51 percent of respondents had already used an online payment system recently via direct deposit, and around one in three believe that, by 2022, there will be no such thing as a paper check any more, it’s easy to see why people think this. Since that number goes to 83 percent by 2037, it only drives the point home.

Max Eliscu, Viewpost’s CEO, noted “People are willing to embrace a more convenient, frictionless payments future. Paper invoicing and checks are well on their way out in the consumer setting, and more businesses across the spectrum are beginning to follow suit with transactions among their trading partners.”

What Eliscu and the respondents to the survey seem uninterested in noting is the sheer numbers of users that currently turn to paper checks, and the corresponding number that don’t have smartphones. It’s a matter of routine for many utility and similar bills, and the sheer inertia of that phenomenon will likely take more than five years to break.

Paper checks’ biggest advantages are their mobility, their security and their wide acceptance. The time delay of checks is also helpful, as is the lack of any dollar amount restriction. This combination of benefits will likely make paper checks one of the biggest mobile payment systems around for some time to come, particularly for larger purchases. There are simply too many people who use these every month—both consumer and business alike—to completely lose the medium.