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Alternative currencies such as Bitcoin are making headlines, and many retailers are paying increasing attention to their potential. However, although these innovative currencies may be in the news, awareness among U.S. consumers is still quite low. In fact, in a recent survey, an overwhelming majority – 76 percent – said they were not at all familiar with Bitcoin.
Since alternative currencies aren’t likely to become commonplace in the near term, it’s no surprise that checks remain a highly-used method of payment. Results from a 2010 Federal Reserve Payments Study reveal that 24.4 billion checks are written in the U.S. annually – with 27.8 billion checks written in 2009 valuing $32.4 trillion and an average of $1,165 per check.
Mt. Prospect, Ill.-based Cummins Allison, a leading provider of check, currency and coin handling solutions as well as ATMs, shares how retailers can continually be prepared to efficiently handle check payments.
Checks Still Popular Form of Payment
According to the aforementioned survey, 79 percent of consumers would never consider using Bitcoin, and younger consumers are no more likely to be aware of Bitcoin than the older respondents. Only 11 percent of the consumers over 65 years old said they would be willing to use an alternative currency.
There are a number of reasons that many consumers may still prefer traditional payment forms, like checks, including:
- Enhanced security to thwart fraud. Should a shopper’s wallet or purse become lost or stolen, thieves can often carry out small credit or debit card purchases without a signature. Yet, banks and merchants require a signature on a check. Thus, fraud is much more difficult with a check versus other payment methods.
- Ease of use. One in five U.S. households, or 20 percent, do not have Internet access. Unable to have access to funds electronically, many customers find it easier to just write a check. Retailers must still be able to cater to patrons that don’t have Internet access or may not be tech-savvy.
Broad acceptance, enhanced security to protect sensitive information, and ease-of-use are just a few reasons why retailers are experiencing sustained use of check payments. As such, retailers across the country must continue to be prepared to handle and process checks efficiently.
Handling Checks with the Proper Processing Technology
Consumers benefit from the security and flexibility afforded by the use of checks. To ensure quick and accurate processing of these forms of payment, retailers should leverage the latest in check processing technology, which is capable of capturing 400 items per minute.
By investing in an updated check scanning machine that can also process cash, retailers are able to spend less time processing transactions and spend more time on the floor with shoppers, enhancing their experience and encouraging them to purchase more products. The ability to process multiple forms of payment on the same equipment can also cut costs and streamline daily operations.
For more information on check scanning and processing equipment, visit cumminsallison.com/checks.