Checks remain the preferred method of payment for consumer purchases of $25 or more, a recent survey found.

In the survey, by Friedman Marketing Organization of Southfield, Mich., 48% of consumers said checks are the instrument they use most often to pay for nongrocery purchases.

By contrast, 32% usually pay with cash, 18% with credit cards, and only 2% with debit cards.

Commissioned by Vendor

The study was commissioned by JBS Associates of Ringwood, N.J., which provides check authorization services to retailers.

While the findings reinforce the position of JBS and others in the check business, they are in line with other polls, including American Banker consumer surveys of recent years, showing the move to electronic alternatives has been slow.

"It's true that debit has come a long way, but we do not see it displacing checks at the present time," said Carl J. Williams, president of JBS.

According to the Electronic Funds Transfer Association, point-of-sale debit transactions have grown slowly but steadily from three million a month in June 1987 to 17.6 million in June 1991.

Association officials expect that debits will gradually replace checks as more food and general-merchandise retailers install and market the electronic service with bank-owned regional and national networks.

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