Check Usage Higher in Upper Income Households

August 12, 2015, Written By John H. Oldshue
Check and pen

Across all age groups, high income households consistently write more checks than low income households, according to a newly-released Checking Behavior Survey from Harland Clarke and Nielsen which assessed trends among check writers.

The biggest gap in check usage by income was with Baby Boomers, where 78% of high income households used checks compared to 60% of low income households. For Generation Y, those numbers were much closer: 36% and 32%, respectively.

While those figures are significantly lower than those of older generations, the researchers said the gap is expected to widen as these consumers grow older. “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.”

Not surprisingly, debit and credit cards were the most used financial products. 72% of respondents used ATM/debit cards while 62% used major credit cards and individual checking accounts.

The study also noted that check writers were more likely to use “lucrative banking services,” such as brokerage accounts, money markets, certificates of deposit, mortgages and retirement accounts.

Roughly 55% of active check writers said they have been with their primary financial institution for 10 years or longer. 85% said they were somewhat or extremely satisfied with their bank or credit union, and 75% said they were unlikely to switch to another financial institution. 63% of active check writers said they maintain relationships with two or more financial institutions.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of August 12, 2015. For up-to-date
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