More Checks Are In The (E-)Mail

The Electronic Payments Association says the use of E-checks has soared, led by growth in accounts-receivable check conversion.
Checks mailed by consumers for credit card, mortgage, utility, and other bill payments continue to be converted into electronic transactions at breakneck speed. The number of such conversions, known as accounts-receivable check (ARC) conversion, hit 208 million in the second quarter, an increase of 800% over the year-earlier total, the Electronic Payments Association reported Monday. The dollar value of ARC transactions was $61 billion in the second quarter.

ARC is one of several forms of electronic checks, in which check transactions get converted into electronic debits against a checking account. Others include Web- and telephone-based check payments and checks written at the cash register and converted into e-checks by the retailer. The total number of E-checks reached 473 million in the second quarter, an increase of 121% over the year-earlier total. The figures don't include debit-card transactions.

For the first time, ARC conversions eclipsed Web-based E-check payments, which totaled 170 million in the second quarter. Telephone-based E-payments were 46 million and E-check conversions at the cash register were 42 million.

In addition to the 473 million E-checks processed as one-time transactions, another 539 million were processed as recurring transactions, meaning that more than 1 billion E-checks were processed in the second quarter--approximately one-third of all consumer check payments.

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