News Column

Checkbooks heading toward extinction

August 25, 2014

By Zach Kyle, The Idaho Statesman

Aug. 25--Checkbooks are going the way of the floppy disk.

A new KeyBank survey found that 18 percent of its customers don't write checks, and 47 percent write only one or two checks per month.

"I'm sure it's a universal trend," said Kevin Donovan, KeyBank'sIdaho president. "The few that use checks also tend to use cash. The rest of us tend to use debit cards or electronic payments of some sort."

Americans used checks for nearly 40 billion transactions in 2000 but fewer than 20 billion in 2012, according to the Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, debit card transactions increased from fewer than 10 billion to more than 45 billion.

Zions Bank's customers are also using fewer checks these days, said Melisse Grey, executive vice president of consumer and small business product management. Rent payment accounted for the largest checks use, she said. Other common uses were payments for services such as babysitters and music lessons that don't accept electronic payment.

Banks are changing account options to accommodate customers who don't need checkbooks. KeyBank offers a "hassle free" account with limitless online banking and overdraft protection -- but no checks -- and no monthly or per-transaction fees. KeyBank's basic checking account starts at $7 per month.

Donovan said it's not just the younger customers ditching their checkbooks. "I don't think it's just a millennial issue," he said. "We are all becoming a little more tech-savvy, using our phones for online banking."


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Source: Idaho Statesman (Boise)

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