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Small Businesses Account for Nearly 50 Percent of Paper Check Use in U.S.


Oct 18 - Forty-six percent of paper checks written in the United States, not including government checks, involve a small business, according to a new Research Brief released by NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association and FIS, a provider of banking and payments technologies. Citing the Research Brief titled “Still Paying with Paper: Small Businesses Continue to Write and Receive Checks,” 24 percent of check transactions are small business B2B payments; 10 percent are consumer to small business payments; and 12 percent are for small business payroll, which represents 2.7 billion paper checks per year.

“There is a significant opportunity to reduce small business check use by encouraging adoption of direct deposit via ACH,” said Janet O. Estep, NACHA president and CEO. “Many small businesses are unaware of the benefits of direct deposit, including time and cost savings, efficiency and convenience. By increasing awareness of these advantages, small business might be more inclined to adopt direct deposit, and we can begin to see a reduction in the number of small business payroll checks written each year.”

Currently, two-thirds of small businesses do not offer direct deposit via ACH to their employees. The research driving the research brief revealed that small businesses fail to adopt direct deposit for a variety of reasons. Forty-six percent of small businesses say they feel they have too few employees to justify it; 28 percent indicate their employees prefer checks or cash; 26 percent state their business has never been approached by anyone about using direct deposit; and 21 percent believe direct deposit is too expensive. Of those small businesses that offer direct deposit, almost 90 percent view it favorably.

“Direct deposit via ACH is the simple, safe, smart and environmentally friendly way to administer payroll,” Estep said. “Through direct deposit, businesses of all sizes can improve efficiencies, reduce costs, and provide their employees with a convenient, value-added benefit. We encourage small businesses to reach out to their financial institutions or payroll providers to explore the full potential of direct deposit.”

“Still Paying With Paper: Small Businesses Continue to Write and Receive Checks” is a research brief co-authored by FIS and NACHA –The Electronic Payments Association. It is based on the findings of a survey jointly conducted by FIS and NACHA in November 2010 to understand payment behavior among small businesses in the United States. Respondents included 2,249 small businesses owners, CEOs or presidents, chief financial officers, controllers or treasurers, office managers, accountants, or book keepers. For more information about the survey or to download a copy of the research brief, please visit

NACHA — The Electronic Payments Association
NACHA manages the development, administration, and governance of the ACH Network, the backbone for the electronic movement of money and data. The ACH Network provides a safe, secure, and reliable network for direct account-to-account consumer, business, and government payments. Annually, it facilitates billions of direct deposit via ACH and direct payment via ACH transactions. Used by all types of financial institutions, the ACH Network is governed by the fair and equitable NACHA Operating Rules, which guide risk management and create payment certainty for all participants. As a not-for-profit association, NACHA represents more than 10,000 financial institutions via 17 regional payments associations and direct membership. Through its industry councils and forums, NACHA brings together payments system stakeholders to foster dialogue and innovation to strengthen the ACH Network. To learn more, please visit,,, and