As Federal Reserve payments studies have chronicled over the past decade, Americans are increasingly turning to electronic alternatives for transactions and paying bills. In a statement issued in April concerning the most recent study, a Fed committee gave a number of details about check usage.
During the 2009 calendar year, remittance checks made up more than half of all checks written. Other findings include:
The study also estimated that 4.5 billion account statements were issued annually on checkable deposit accounts. Details regarding various statement types include the following:
The number of automated clearinghouse (ACH) payments increased 9.4 percent annually from 2006 to 2009, or by 4.5 billion payments. However, ACH growth decelerated between 2006 and 2009 with the number of ACH entries growing more rapidly earlier in the three-year period than at the end. While the total value of ACH payments in 2009 exceeded those in 2006 by $6.2 trillion, the average value of an ACH payment declined from $2,122 to $1,946 during the period.
The statement also noted that while growth in all payment types appears to have been slowed by the economic recession—credit cards averaged an annual decline in transaction value of approximately 3 percent from 2006 to 2009—the trend is not expected to continue as the economy recovers.