The statistics don’t lie: in business, in government and in our day-to-day lives, we are using fewer and fewer checks, and more electronic payments. The examples are all around us, starting at the top – the Federal Reserve:
In the 1990s, the number of paper checks processed by the Fed (was) 19 billion. Since then, it has only gone down. In 2000 the number was 16 billion; in 2007, 10 billion and in 2011, just 6.8 billion checks – and of those, almost all were electronic images – were processed by the Federal Reserve. 3pointAlliance.com
In fact the volume of checks the Fed processes is only one-third of what it was 20 years ago. Whereas they once had 45 check-clearing centers in the US, now they have ONE. Meanwhile, the cost of processing checks has gone up by 55% in recent years.
So, that’s the spirit behind the announcement you saw on the MindField Online news page last week:
The ability to cash out using checks will no longer be available starting today. Very few of our members still use this service and it has become too costly and unreliable to maintain effectively.
“Costly and unreliable.” What’s that mean? Well, as we said, the cost of processing checks – even when there are NO problems, is rising. When there ARE problems, though, it gets ridiculous. The Post Office loses your check? Someone swipes it from your mailbox? Suddenly, your $5 cash out check costs MindField $20 to replace!
Is this a huge problem? No, but it’s big enough to be a distraction. And, ultimately, it’s an unnecessary distraction when there are so many other efficient, reliable solutions out there:
We continue to look for exciting cash out options to add to PayPal, Amazon, WalMart and Sam’s online options. We are also looking to add some charitable giving options like St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Make A Wish, or Wounded Warrior programs.
In the end, it’s the price of progress. Check distribution is an avoidable expense, and thousands and thousands of companies have realized it. But we want to hear YOUR thoughts:
If you have cash out ideas, please send them to our support desk, firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to know which retailers and charities are of interest to you.