The increasing array of electronic payment options is dragging down the annual growth of paper checks, but experts said banks are at least a decade away from seeing any meaningful reduction in volume.

Indeed, in terms of sheer numbers, checks today are a more popular means of tendering payments than ever before. Annual check volume is at an all-time high of about 63 billion, and the number of checks is expected to grow about 3% per year for the foreseeable future, according to the Tower Group, Newton, Mass.

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