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Why You Shouldn’t Write Off Check Writers
Friday, August 7, 2015 6:20 AM

Understanding account holders’ checking habits is important to financial institutions’ long-term revenue projections, as well as daily operations. Recent research from Harland Clarke and Nielsen identified strong correlations between active check writing and high-value financial relationships.1

Check Writing Increases with Income among All Age Groups—Even Gen Y

There is a strong parallel between household income and the frequency of check usage. Among all age groups, higher-income accountholders write more checks. Accountholders age 55+, with annual household income levels exceeding $75,000, wrote the most checks overall.

Similar to income, check writing increases as income producing assets (IPA) grow. Starting at an even younger age—35 and older—accountholders with high IPAs write more checks.

Don’t Dismiss Gen Y
Checking accountholders born from 1980 to 2000 may hold a key to the future of your bank or credit union. Over the next decade, this group is expected to replace Baby Boomers as the largest, wealthiest consumer segment. As they mature and acquire more assets, higher income Generation Y consumers may have a profound impact on check-writing activities, as well as the purchase of other financial services.


Active Check Writers Use More Financial Services

On average, frequent check writers acquire 4.72 financial products and services from their primary financial institution (PFI)—about two more services than non-check users.

Focus on Cross-Selling Programs

Accountholders who write checks regularly show a higher propensity to buy more lucrative banking services, including:

  • Credit and debit cards
  • Individual and joint savings
  • Accounts
  • Retirement accounts
  • Mortgages
  • Vehicle loans
  • Brokerage accounts
  • Money markets
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Home equity
  • Credit lines and business bank accounts

Frequent Check Writers Are More Loyal

An overwhelming 96 percent of active check writers maintain primary checking accounts with their PFIs. Fifty-five percent remain in relationships with their PFIs ten years or longer. How do they feel about their PFIs?

• 85 percent are “extremely” or “somewhat” satisfied

• 75 percent are “not very” or “not at all likely” to switch in the next 12 months

While active check writers are very satisfied with their PFIs, a significant percentage also has relationships with other financial institutions.

• 63 percent maintain two or more institutional relationships

• 32 percent own two or more checking accounts

Keep Striving for PFI Status
Checks are not just transactional documents used to pay bills. They are highly visible engagement tools that help banks and credit unions gain primary status, which is essential for building greater customer loyalty and wallet share.

Review Your Check Program Strategy

Despite electronic advances and demands for greater online conveniences, paper checks remain a major payment option for many financial consumers. Active check writers tend to have higher incomes and more investable assets, and they use more financial services. They are just the type of accountholders every financial institution wants.

To learn how Harland Clarke can help you attract, engage, and retain more profitable checking accountholders, call 800-351-3843, email us at or visit Checks.

1 Harland-Clarke/Nielsen, Checking Behavior Survey, November 2014

Source:  Harland-Clarke