Here’s why paper checks will likely be extinct by 2026

Someone filling out a check.

The paper check has pretty much disappeared from the grocery checkout line, and if the trend continues, this once all-important mode of payment may become extinct. The number of checks being written is dropping by 1.8 billion a year, and at that rate, checks would go away entirely by 2026, according to Business Insider.1

Here are five reasons the paper check may have outlived its usefulness:

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  1. As if swiping a debit card wasn’t easy enough, now you can pay at many stores with just an app on your phone or tablet. Why carry a bulky checkbook or even a wallet when all you need is your phone? As an added bonus, you won't have to endure glares from impatient customers in line behind you as you ask the clerk what the date is.
  2. Electronic payments are easier at home, too. With 84% of all U.S. households owning a computer,2 we’re no longer fumbling to find an envelope and stamp. Paying online is faster and cheaper than writing a check.
  3. Businesses and utilities encourage online and automatic payments, which increase the availability and use of such options.
  4. Banks like electronic checking because there is a lower risk of fraud. Automatic payments are also more reliable and predictable, giving businesses some certainty of getting paid.
  5. Digital options are faster. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, as so many Americans do, you can wait until the last possible moment to pay a bill. You don’t have to float a check, hoping your paycheck will come before the business cashes your check.
  6. Electronic checks and other payment methods are safer, with security features such as encryption codes. Plus, electronic checks remove the sticky-fingered human element. A paper check travels through untold hands as it goes from the mailbox to the mailroom to business offices to banks.

From rent checks to the check that comes in your birthday card, there are still plenty of instances where paper checks are preferred. However, when it comes to saving time, money, and resources, electronic payments continue to reign.

For those going into business or seeking a business degree, the demise of the check and other 20th century inventions upon which businesses once depended—such as the fax machine—raises the issue of what business look like in five years. And further, will businesses that cater to the 50-plus crowd differ from a business whose target market is in their 20s. Learning about trends in business is integral to the study of Business Administration. In fact, at Walden University, those seeking a BS in Business Administration will learn essential business and leadership skills that can be applied in any industry.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering online business degree programs for working professionals. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Walden’s BS in Business Administration program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Among other benefits, ACBSP accreditation signifies that the program meets standards of quality endorsed by businesses, government, and other organizations.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,

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