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When Did You Last Write A Check?

Poll QuestionAbout six years ago, on a trip to northern Michigan, I stopped to fill up my car and realized my wallet was at home instead of in my handbag.

This was, of course, after I’d already pumped the gas – thanks to no pay-at-the-pump option. When I went into the service station to explain my dilemma, the attendant suggested I write a check.

(Me: “A check?! Oh, yeah.”)

Miraculously, I did have my checkbook in my handbag. I neatly filled in the fields like I’d learned so long ago in my high school economics class and was on my way.

That memory sticks out because it was the last time I used a check in public as payment for goods.

I’m not alone.

Online news outlet Quartz recently covered the end of America’s love affair with checks. It’s been a frequent article topic in the last few years.

The article highlighted Federal Reserve data, including a Cash Products Office report that found checks were used in less than 20 billion transactions in October 2012, down from 40 billion in 2000. Check usage peaked at 49.5 billion in 1995.

We all know what happened then. The era of electronic payments dawned, leaving checks in the dust.

While many people have speculated that cash is the next payment method on the chopping block, another Federal Reserve study found that cash is still used most often.

The April 2014 study found the average consumer had 59 transactions in October 2012, and 23 of them involved cash. That’s roughly 40% of consumer transactions that involve cash, followed by debit cards (25%) and credit cards (17%). Checks accounted for just 7% of transactions and were tied with electronic methods like online bill pay through a bank.

I’ve fully embraced electronic payments. My checkbook only leaves my desk drawer for one-off bills, when it’s not worth the time to set up a new payee through electronic bill pay. And I have a postage stamp.

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How often do you write a check?
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