Check use may decline before end of decade

Is there a peak in the paper mountain? Yes, says a study published today by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, at least in the number of checks Americans write.

Already, the growth in the number of checks appears to be declining. Some 36 billion checks were written last year. The study projects that the total should peak at about 40.1 billion near the end of the decade and begin a slow decline. The researchers don't see a checkless society anytime soon. But an increasing number of banking transfers will be done by automatic teller machines, which have doubled in number since 1980.

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