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Target will stop accepting personal checks next week. Are the days of this payment method numbered? | Business

Target will stop accepting personal checks next week. Are the days of this payment method numbered? | Business

NEW YORK — Target will stop accepting personal checks from its customers starting July 15, another sign that a once widely used payment method is going the same way as old-fashioned items like floppy disks and Rolodex.

The Minneapolis-based discount retailer confirmed the move in a statement to the Associated Press on Tuesday, citing “extremely low volumes” of customers still writing checks. Target said it remains committed to creating a simple and convenient checkout experience with credit and debit cards, “buy now, pay later” services and the Target Circle membership program, which automatically applies offers at checkout.

“We have taken various measures to inform guests in advance about the no-check policy,” the company said.

Following Target’s decision, Walmart, Macy’s and Kohl’s are among the retailers that still accept personal checks in their stores. Whole Foods Market and supermarket chain Aldi have already previously stopped accepting checks from customers.

Since the mid-1990s, shoppers have been pulling out their checkbooks less and less. ATMs, debit cards, online banking, and mobile payment systems like Venmo and Apple Pay mean that many young adults may never have written a check.

The use of checks has been declining for decades as Americans have largely moved to paying for services with credit and debit cards. According to the Federal Reserve, Americans wrote about 3.4 billion checks in 2022, compared to nearly 19 billion checks in 1990. However, the average size of checks Americans wrote over the 32-year period increased from $673 in 1990 – or $1,602 in today’s currency – to $2,652.

The decline in check issuance allowed the Federal Reserve to drastically reduce its national check processing infrastructure. In 2003, it operated 45 check processing centers nationwide; as of 2010, only one of these remains in operation.

The increasing number of check fraud cases is also making people hesitant to write checks. The fraud is fueled by organized crime, which is forcing small businesses and individuals to take extra security precautions or avoid sending checks by mail altogether.

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