The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act has not led to more efficient operations at the Federal Reserve Board, but that could change, the Government Accountability Office said in a report released Tuesday.

The 2003 law was meant to cut costs by letting consumers view their processed checks online, instead of receiving canceled checks in the mail, but the GAO said the Fed's check-clearing costs have increased since the law's enactment, largely because of investments in software and equipment.

Still, the GAO said the central bank's costs stemming from work hours and check transportation have decreased.

Several of the 10 largest domestic banks said transportation and labor costs fell, the report found, but the savings was offset by the need to maintain both paper- and image-based processing systems.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.