Infographic: Debit, credit cards still killing off checks

Sabrina Karl
Personal Finance Writer
Data whiz and visual storyteller


Every three years, the Federal Reserve calculates how many of our country’s noncash transactions are taken care of with checks, cards and electronic withdrawals. And every three years, the share of checks withers.

The Fed’s 2015 report, released Dec. 22, 2016, shows that checks now account for only 12 percent of U.S. noncash transactions. That’s compared to 16 percent three years earlier, and almost a quarter (23 percent) in 2009.

Thirty-five years ago, a whopping 86 percent of noncash payments were made by check, with credit cards making up almost all of the remainder. But by 2000, debit cards had stormed on the scene and gained a foothold, while credit cards moved above a 20 percent share.

Credit cards have held steady at 22 to 23 percent of noncash payments every year since 2000, except for the post-recession year of 2009, when they slid to 19 percent of transactions. But debit cards have soared in the mix, climbing rapidly to become the most frequent noncash payment by 2009. Today, they command a 41 percent share of the pie.

In addition to cards and checks, automated transfers by ACH and prepaid debit cards together accounted for about a quarter (23 percent) of 2015’s noncash transactions.

The 2016 Federal Reserve Payments Study combines data gathered from three individual surveys commissioned by the Fed.

See related: Poll: Pay with cash or card for $5 purchase?, More infographics

To use the graphic on your site, use the following code:

<center><a href=""><img alt=" Infographic: Plastic steadily kills off checks" border="0" src="" /></a> </center>

Join the discussion
We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.

The editorial content on is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company's business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.

Weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, advice, articles and tips delivered to your inbox. It's FREE.

Updated: 03-22-2019