This Is Why the Average American Still Uses a Shocking 38 Checks a Year
In the past 10 years, I have lived in five different apartments and worked for four different companies.
Three of those apartments required me to write a check to pay rent, and my first job was the only one to pay me with a paper check. As a freelancer, I was only paid with a check three times in three years.
I know how to write a check, but I can only remember writing three checks in the past 18 months, and it has been almost seven years since I had to deposit a biweekly payroll check.
Apparently, that’s not the case for the rest of the country.
According to Bloomberg, Americans on average wrote or received 38 checks in 2015. Meanwhile, in countries like Australia and Germany, that number is nearly zero.
And up until 10 years ago, a check was still the most popular form of payment behind cash.
Seriously, Who Is Still Using Checks?
The older you are, the more likely it is that you use checks to pay for things like groceries and gas. And the likelihood only rises if you live in a more rural community, Bloomberg reports.
It might be surprising, but the unbanked — people who don’t have bank accounts — also contribute to America using more checks than any other developed country. That’s because unbanked people are more likely to get paid with a paper check.
Businesses round it all out, according to Bloomberg. About half of all business-to-business transactions are made with checks.
Checks Are Still Going Strong. But How Long Will That Last?
As checks started to lose popularity, debit and credit cards had their heyday. Now the new kids on the block are peer-to-peer services like Venmo and PayPal.
While only 10% of seniors and 20% of baby boomers have ever used a peer-to-peer app, that percentage jumps to 62% for millennials. And 71% of people think children under 10 will likely never need to write a check.
But that may not be true.
According to Bloomberg, while check use is still declining in America, the rate of decline has slowed in recent years, and banks still report that a huge amount of money is moved via check.
“Our customers wrote almost a billion checks last year. Checks will be around for a while,” Michelle Moore, Bank of America’s head of digital banking, told Bloomberg. “But P2P is what really is growing phenomenally year-over-year.”
Desiree Stennett (@desi_stennett) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.