Cheques are checking out

Article published 28 January 2020

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OVER the past twelve months, the number of cheques written has fallen by 19 per cent.

There are now around four cheques written per person every year with most of those in the commercial sector. At the turn of the century it was closer to forty cheques per person. It adds up to a decline of 90 per cent.

The remaining 10 percent of cheque use will not disappear so fast. Anyone still using cheques these days is wedded to them.

However, cheques are simply not being used by the vast majority of people or businesses.

Electronic payments have replaced cheques. Real estate settlements, which used to be done with a whole series of cheques from different entities in an actual building between actual people has gone electronic.

For those who still use cheques and who are unable to change to electronic and online payments, no clear alternative exists.

On a positive note for those who continue to use cheques, there’s no timetable for getting rid of cheques.

The Reserve Bank’s plan appears to be to let cheques phase themselves out.

Interesting question: who will be the last person in Australia to write a cheque?

And did you know that 80 per cent of retail transactions are now tap-and-go transaction by credit or debit card? Cash now accounts for just around a quarter of day-to-day transactions, and most of these are for small-value payments.

Ahead of the global financial crisis in 2008, Australians were on average making 300 cash transactions a year. That is now under 200, with debit and credit cards twice as likely to be used.

Cash is still king but about to abdicate.

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