People Hate Writing Checks (But They Do It Anyway)

Consumers are still writing checks, but research shows they really don't like doing it. This study breaks down check writers by age, gender and frequency.

With the increasing availability of mobile and online banking options, traditional checking account products like paper 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.

That might seem obvious to a lot of people, especially younger, tech-savvy generations, but almost half of people in their mid-40s “never” write checks, according to a new survey by GoBankingRates.

The leading banking and personal finance site asked how often banking customers wrote personal checks, finding the most common response was “never” (37.8%), followed by “several times a month” (25.6%), “a few times a year” (20.5%) and “once a month” (16.1%).

The survey also found that men write checks less often than women, and the youngest age group (18-24) was the most likely to report never writing a check. Residents of the western United States, as well as from urban areas, were least likely to write checks.

One of the most surprising findings was that every single survey respondent in the over $150,000 per year income bracket stated that they write several checks every month.

Read More: Should Banks Charge Fees For Check Writing?



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The Death of the Checkbook?

Most of large, online banks have embraced this trend of declining check usage, offering above-market interest bearing checking accounts to consumers online, with minimal fees. The death of the checkbook is not far away.

Kyle Kolsky, SVP Head of Consumer Deposits at Bank of Internet says convenience and security are driving these trends. “Consumers are becoming more tech-savvy,” Kolsky says. “They realize that online banking is more convenient and secure than using paper checks that have the potential to expose your personal information — including your account number — to others.”

If consumers are embracing this evolution of the checking account, it should continue to be advantageous for banks and credit unions to continue developing cutting-edge banking products that leverage the convenience of the Internet and provide additional perks with low fees.

These online bank accounts, which charge fewer customer fees and require smaller minimum balances, can afford banks more attractive interest rates due to the lack of overhead costs associated with more traditional bank accounts – a win-win for banks and their account holders.

Polling for the survey was conducted through Google Consumer Surveys from February 19 through 21, 2014 for a total of 1,501 responses.

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