Smart SpendingSmart Spending

The Internet has killed traditional checking

With the growth of mobile and online banking, using pen and paper to write a check seems more outdated every day.

By Money Staff Mar 10, 2014 11:46AM

This post comes from Casey Bond at partner site on MSN MoneyHow often do you write a personal check?

If you’re like many of the respondents in the latest GoBankingRates poll, never.

Woman writing in check book © Bruce Laurance/Digital Vision/Getty ImagesWith the increasing availability of mobile and online banking options, traditional checking account products like paper personal checks are falling out of usage.

Online bill pay, peer-to-peer payment apps and other, more convenient ways of moving money are taking their place.

Banking customers ditch personal checks

In a 2014 poll, GoBankingRates asked how often banking customers wrote personal checks.

The most common response was "never," with 37.8 percent. That was followed by "several times a month" (25.6 percent), "a few times a year" (20.5 percent) and "once a month" (16.1 percent).

Checkbook study highlights

  • Men are more likely to never write checks than women.

  • Every single respondent polled making $150,000 and up reported writing checks several times a month.

  • The youngest demographic polled, 18-24, were most likely to never write checks.

  • Older respondents were more likely to write checks several times a month.

  • Western respondents were more likely to never write checks than respondents in any other region.

  • Rural respondents were more likely to write checks several times a month than urban and suburban respondents.

"Increased convenience and adoption of online banking technologies are the largest factors reducing the number of checks being written today," Kyle Kolsky, SVP Head of Consumer Deposits at Bank of Internet, told GOBankingRates.

"Consumers are becoming more tech-savvy and realize that online banking is more convenient and secure than using paper checks that have the potential to expose your personal information, including your account number, to others," Kolsky said. "Younger consumers rely on debit card transactions or person-to-person money transfer services and may never write a check, similar to consumer behavior in Europe."


Indeed, online payment systems have become ubiquitous among banking customers. The Financial Brand reported in October 2013 that research by Fiserv found 60 percent of respondents make a payment via laptop or desktop computer at least once a month, while 30 percent have made a payment using a mobile phone and 22 percent with a tablet.

"Consumers are increasingly looking for new ways to manage their bills, which points to the need for continued innovation by service providers across the payments industry," said David Shapiro, senior vice president of payments at Western Union, in a statement regarding Western Union’s 2013 Money Mindset Index.


"Less than one-third of payments occur via non-electronic channels, and consumers continue to use a mix of payment methods that provide enhanced choice, flexibility, control and convenience around their lifestyles and cash flow," he explained.

Study details


  • Of those who never write checks, 43.4 percent were male, and 32.7 percent were female, a spread of more than 10 points.
  • Of those who write checks several times a month, 21.7 percent were male, while 29.2 percent were female, a spread of more than 8 points.


  • Those making between $100,000 and $149,999 and those making between $0 and $24,999 were most likely to never write checks, at 47.4 percent and 46.3 percent, respectively.
  • 100 percent of those making $150,000 or more write checks several times a month.


  • 61.2 percent of respondents who never write checks were between the ages of 18 and 24 (the largest age group represented), while just 25.7 percent of respondents 55-64 and 27.6 percent of respondents 65 and up never write checks.
  • 24.1 percent of respondents who write checks once a month were between the ages of 25 and 34, the largest age group represented, compared with 10.7 percent of respondents aged 18-24 and 11.5 percent of respondents aged 35-44 who write checks monthly.
  • The second most popular response, writing checks "several times a month," was most commonly selected by adults aged 55-64, with 38.5 percent. Trailing closely behind were adults aged 65 and up, with 36.5 percent choosing this option. The least likely to write checks several times a month were adults aged 18 to 24, at 11.7 percent.
Survey methodology

Polling was conducted through Google Consumer Surveys from February 19 – 21, 2014 for a total of 1,501 responses with a RMSE score of 2.0 percent.

More from

Mar 10, 2014 2:07PM

This is a very flawed conclusion on the future of check writing. Using the info in your Bar Chart

CHECK WRITING IS ALIVE AND WELL. Your title should say that. Based on your age band:

1.    72%   of  65+  still write checks, 

2.    74%    of   55 - 64 still write checks,

3.    68%   of   45 - 54  still write checks,

4.    53%   of  33 - 44  still write checks,

5.    65%   of  23 -  32 still write checks,

6.    39%  of 18 - 24  still write checks. 


Let's be generous in your favor and say 60% of all people over the age 23 write checks it stand to reason that your Title should read " Checking is alive and well "



Mar 10, 2014 1:47PM

Electronically paying bills has saved me a lot of time and money (writing checks, envelopes, stamps, etc.) but I will always keep my checkbook for services that don't take debit or credit cards (school services, girl scout cookies or boy scout popcorn, my vet, my babysitter, some personal services, etc).

I will keep doing both.

Mar 10, 2014 2:03PM

Checks for me!

I have complete control, no hackers on my accounts.

I have been hacked on credit cards and they caught it.

So easy to steal money on-line today!

Mar 10, 2014 2:23PM
I am all for forward movement with technology but when it comes to my personal finances i still want control & i don't want businesses going into my account to get their piece.  I had a problem with a bill (bill was $325.50 & somehow a decimal got shifted & $3255.00 was taken out of my checking account) & they made me out to be the criminal.  I had to go through a bunch of b.s to prove they were wrong....they did not even have the courtesy to apologize for their mistake so after it was resolved i closed the account & went to a different bank and since then I write my own checks & keep them out of my finances.  It's a shame it still has to be done the old way but once you have been burned you don't want to go back.
Mar 10, 2014 2:27PM

not so fast bankers......I do not have cell service in my area and internet is not dependable...I

 will continue to write checks until they pry the pen out of my cold dead hands,,,,,,

Mar 10, 2014 1:33PM

I still pay my bills with checks and will continue to do so as Tech can always be Hacked and your personal info Stolen!


In fact 2 days ago I asked my neighbor if he was being charged the excess service fee on Electric Bills and he did not know for all of his bills are electrically/IT paid.


He did check and confirmed it but he also spent over an hour checking to find that additional charge!

When I pay my bills by check I have a record of them something that he does not have easily to his access!


For those young and so very tech savvy and addicted they don't yet have a clue relative to self protection or to function w/o tech and I find this fact of life Upsetting at best. WHY Life is found outside of tech which is not a real life but a computer generated wanted life!

Mar 10, 2014 2:58PM

The reason older adults write checks "several times a month" or "once a month" is that they have monthly bills to pay.  Sounds obvious.  The reason a smaller percentage of 18 - 24 year olds write checks once or several times a month is that fewer of them are living independently and paying monthly bills like rent, utilities etc.


While it is also true that younger people are more likely to use electronic banking, this survey doesn't seem to have factored in the life-stage differences that would also skew the responses. The survey would be more valid if it surveyed people of different age groups who actually pay monthly bills.


Mar 10, 2014 3:01PM
No one, and I mean NO ONE takes money out of my checking account except for me on my signature. I have several recurring expenses that are paid by credit card but I write the paper check to pay the credit card company every month. Sign all of your own checks, subtract that amount from the amount in your account, by hand, every time. If you do this you will spend less money, save more, but more importantly you will know where your money is going, that will make budgeting much easier and more effective.
Mar 10, 2014 2:22PM
My neighbor is a director of security for a large banking company.  He does not do on line banking because of the the insecurity of the internet.  My wife and I do not use on line banning, nor debit cards.  When 1 out of 100 on line banking customers have their ID stolen each year, why take the chance.  In 50 years, you have a 50-50 chance of your ID and money being stolen.
Mar 10, 2014 3:27PM
I still use paper checks. I don't trust online bill pay, or online statements. I had online statements from my cell provider, but about every other month they never showed up so I went back to paper statements and paper checks. My son-in-law is in ITT and says he wouldn't trust online bill pay ever. The number of people who's info is hacked via online bill pay is extremely underreported, and the Target fiasco is only one of hundreds that occur all over the world every year. He's only in his 30's, but says paper checks and paper statements are the safest way to go. Never send your personal financial information out into cyberspace. Keep it safe and only use paper.
Mar 10, 2014 2:21PM

The Data Brokers: Selling Your Personal Information

60 Minutes March 09, 2014

Mar 10, 2014 3:04PM
As the populous becomes more aware of internet "insecurities"; bank customers will return to writing checks.
Mar 10, 2014 3:35PM
Give me checks any day.  If the system crashes, I still have a hard copy.  If there is a discrepency, I still have a hard copy.  If there are suspicious charges, a hard copy will prove it.
I work with computers and programming and while you may believe banking on-line is safe, it isn't fail-safe.  Even the most secure system can be hacked.
Mar 10, 2014 2:41PM

One aggressive virus in our infrastructure can bring down the entire system we have erected leaving us reeling for decades. We are attacked hundreds of times per day and we must be right in our response 100% of the time, the attackers need only be successful ONCE, and we are done for.

Let us not forget, EVERYTHING is done over the internet now. Energy delivery to include electricity, gasoline and heating fuels, food deliveries, banking, you name it and it is reliant on a safe and SECURE internet, which does not exist. US companies are hacked and property stolen thousands of times each year. What will the terrorist nation attack, and when???

Use technology at your own peril, and do not whine and complain when the system comes down around your neck.

Mar 10, 2014 3:01PM

Can you spell p-a-p-e-r--t-r-a-i-l ??

Yer dang strait...I still need undiputable PROOF that they got it and cashed it.


Invaluable !


Especially when mailing payments.

On-line it's too damn easy for them to say...''uh, we don't see that payment.'' and what proof do you have ?

Mar 10, 2014 3:38PM
living where I am I do write checks for all of my bills. The check itself can be use if I need to prove I did pay for something. Its much easier I think to have that kind of security and it never failed me when I need to prove I did pay my bills. I really don't think its a good idea to keep so much information out there about ourselves when it comes to financial situation and it has been proven that its a risk to use automatic technology when it comes to our handle of our financial situation. I hope they never do away with check writing as its something I rather do for myself to keep as much stuff out of the internet about myself and my state of affairs. Thank you. have a good day American
Mar 10, 2014 3:07PM
Just one occurance of being falsely charged on an "on line" back account will change your mind about electronic banking.  I've watched the progress of the process over many years and am absolutely convinced that there is NO SECURITY  ON THE NET.  My YAHOO email account was just recently hacked and I had to spend several hours trying to delete it with no success.  Fortunately I had another account that enabled me to notify most of my addressees of the hack and to not open any mail from that account..  When I write a check, there is little possibility of  it being misused, copied or otherwise making a mess of my bank accounts.  Of course, the mail can and has caused the occasional problem with a lost check  but that problem does not create more problems.
Mar 10, 2014 4:30PM
My math must be different from theirs.  26 + 16 + 20 = 62.  Soooo, 62% of respondents state that they write checks, whether once in a while to several times a month.  Ummm, how does that translate to "The Internet Has Killed Traditional Checking"?

Mar 10, 2014 3:44PM
the less people that have access to your bank account the better.
Mar 10, 2014 2:43PM
I still use checks because I have one bill where thats the only way to pay or go to the place of the business and pay cash but that would be a waste of gas. All other bills I can pay online.
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.