Majority Of Americans Still Writing Checks

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A majority of Americans (68%) still pay their bills every month by writing checks and mailing them in despite having many newer technology-based payment options available, according to a new national survey released by the Check Payment Systems Association (CPSA).

The survey, conducted by KRC Research, shows that when it comes to paying monthly bills such as utilities, 11% of consumers prefer online banking, 8% choose automatic debit from the bank, and only 2% prefer paying over the phone via credit card. Security and safety measures, record keeping purposes and more control of spending habits were cited as the main reasons people prefer paying the majority of their monthly bills by check.

The findings of the new survey are similar to those found in The Federal Reserve's 2002 Retail Payments Research Project, which states that checks remain the most popular form of non-cash payment and are 65 times more likely to be used than all other types of electronic payments combined. When the value of checks and electronic payments in the U.S. economy is combined, checks account for 84% of the total.

According to the CPSA, study, the majority of Americans (69%) feel more at ease writing checks for a purchase than using a credit or debit card online. This confidence in checks crosses all age levels. Most 18-24 year-olds (64%), 25-34 year-olds (58%), 35-44 year-olds (73%), 45-54 year-olds (69%), 55-64 year-olds (75%) and those 65 and older (76%) say they are more at ease using checks for purchases than they are using credit and debit cards online.

The preference for checks also holds true among those who regularly use the Internet for financial or banking purposes. A December 2002 survey by TowerGroup showed that 41% of online banking users still prefer to write checks and mail their bills. The same is true for 26% of U.S. households using Internet bill payment.

Among the other findings:

Security: 62% of those surveyed believe that printed checks have more security measures and enhancements than credit and debit cards.

Budgeting: More adults (27%) say writing checks helps them stay within budget compared to using debit/ATM cards (19%) and credit cards (8%).

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