In a world going fully digital, many industries are changing. Banking is among them, and evolution is already underway in the methods we use to exchange and move our money.
Modern banking is swapping out its traditional tools and doing away with a paper trail that many believe is too long for the digital age. Change rarely occurs overnight, and especially not to the ways people handle their secure finances. Even so, the question remains for staunch users of paper checks: Will traditional checking methods eventually become obsolete?
A brief history of the check
The modern check sprang from innovations to the English banking system during the 17th century. The idea wasn't theirs originally, however: Statements of debt and symbols of credit have existed since the third century, when Persians traded letters of credit called "chaks," according to Central Bank News. However, the British were first to add serial numbers to the back of written paper checks, as a more systematic method of bookkeeping. It wasn't until 1830 that banks began issuing contemporary checkbooks, with 50-, 100- and 200-note bundles available to personal use.
Will checks become obsolete?
Less than 300 years after the Brits' revolutionary checking innovation, it seems they are innovating the system again. According to the BBC, the board of the United Kingdom Payments Council has set the official phase-out date for checks used in the U.K. for Oct. 31, 2018. In just a little more than three years, a British banking tradition more than 350 years old will be over and done with.
"The goal is to ensure that by 2018 there is no scenario where customers, individuals or businesses, still need to use a cheque," the U.K. Payments Council told the BBC. "There are many more efficient ways of making payments than by paper in the 21st century, and the time is ripe for the economy as a whole to reap the benefits of its replacement.
"Will traditional checking become obsolete?"
A survey released early in 2014 by GoBankingRates reported that 38 percent of American banking customers never write checks. In essence, this report shows that the use of checks is not as popular as it once was. The introduction of the Internet has spurred the online banking age into existence, and with it, a dizzying number of alterations to the way we make transactions and manage our day-to-day lives. These innovations include online check deposits, credit freedom and the ability to access our finances on the go at the touch of a button.
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E-Complish, an ecommerce and financial consulting company, released a list of reasons that traditional checks are slowly becoming obsolete. Among the five reasons were that not every business accepts checks, checks cost too much to physically produce and check fraud can still create major security concerns.
For more tips and updates on the latest in banking technology, contact Landmark Bank.