In a World of Digital Payments, Paper Checks Remain Popular in U.S.

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jul 26, 2017

While many countries have long since ditched paper checks altogether, their use remains popular in the U.S., which has made harmonizing payment systems with the rest of the world a challenge that slows transactions, according to Bloomberg. People in the U.S. use checks more than anyone else in the world, with France coming in a close second. Beyond these two nations, though, paper checks are dying out, if not functionally extinct, all over the world. Bloomberg noted that, on average, each person in the U.S. will write 38 checks a year, versus 18 in Canada, 8 in the U.K. and virtually zero in Germany. While younger people in cities seem to favor newer payment systems like digital wallets and peer-to-peer services like Venmo, rural people and the elderly still favor checks for even basic transactions like groceries. The reason checks have endured so much in the U.S. is a general resistance to change after so many have gotten used to them, combined with a fragmented banking system that can't mandate or deny payment methods. 

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