You’ve probably read a lot of reasoned thoughts about how to improve payment speed and increase electronic payments, but you likely have not encountered the full-on assault to “Kill the Check” as highlighted on PYMNTS.com in their article The Fastest Path to Faster Payments in the US.
Lets call it an entertaining, aggressive academic article which sends the message of a perfect payments world…
Of course, it forgets to mention that our friends across the pond in the U.K. tried to do the same thing, and got slapped back by consumer groups and customer demand to not discontinue “cheques.” The fact that the U.S. still has 15-19B checks per year, with corporate payments increasing as a percentage of the total, makes “checks” a critical part of the payments mix.
“…checks between businesses are growing. According to the Fed’s recent stats, 29 percent of the checks written today in the U.S. are checks from one business to another – some 6 billion of them. Not only is that up by more than half a billion from last year, but the value of those checks is increasing, too. The average check amount in 2015 was $1,487 – the highest it’s been since 2007, when it was $1,590.”
As we look into our crystal ball and obtain feedback from the market, banks are looking to solve problems. They want to more effectively automate transactions and feed downstream analytics/big data-type systems. Also, as check volumes running through self service channels are growing, validating the images of checks which are no longer reviewed by humans is a critical risk and compliance function (see Real-Time Image Validation).
Are we going to see a cascade of #killthecheck hashtags in the near future? Sure, the electronic advocates beat that drum, but he rest of the industry? Let’s say they prefer to evaluate solutions to facilitate straight-through-processing and build creative products around new and existing check workflows.