February 2009

Key Messages:

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More than 18,000 paying institution routing transit numbers are receiving images for payment instead of paper checks.  These represent more than 13,000 financial institutions.

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Substitute Checks have facilitated the transition from paper checks to check images.  The volume of substitute checks peaked during the second quarter of 2008 with 875 million and then declined by 11.4% during  the fourth quarter 775 million.

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On an average day during February 2009, 13,404 institutions received over 50 million check images for posting. When the February volume is annualized, it totals 12.7 billion for $14.9 trillion. Also, another 9.9 million checks per day that were sent as images and delivered to paying institutions as substitute checks.  These totaled 2.5 billion checks per year and $2.8 trillion.

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This CheckImage Collaborative image clearing report reflects transactions settled through the Federal Reserve, Viewpointe (formerly PaymentsNation), SVPCO and local / regional exchanges.  When the same payments were cleared through two or more of these organizations, those payments were counted only once.

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The 2007 Federal Reserve’s Payments Study shows that the volume of checks (both written and paid) continue to be larger than debit card, credit card or ACH transactions.  The report also shows that the dollar amount of checks increased from 2003 to 2006 from $40 to $41.7 trillion.

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