Federal Reserve Releases Study Regarding Noncash Payments On December 10, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System released its 2007 study of noncash payments covering the period from 2003 until 2006. For purposes of its study, “noncash payments” included check, automated clearinghouse (ACH), credit card, debit card (both signature and PIN-based) and electronic benefits transfer transactions. The study revealed that, during the study period, all types of electronic payments grew while check payments decreased.

According to the study, the highest rate of growth during the study period was in ACH payments, which grew about 19% per year during the term covered by the study. Debit card payments grew at a rate of approximately 18% per year during the same term. Check use declined approximately 6.4% per year since 2003.

The study also looked at the process of converting paper checks into electronic payments. During 2006, almost 3 billion consumer checks were converted and cleared as ACH payments rather than check payments. This represented an eight-fold increase from 2003. In total, the study estimates that 33 billion checks were written in 2006.