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Four Reasons to Show Checks — and Check Writers — Some Love (+ Four Ways to Do It!)

Pick one. The figure 18 billion represents:

  1. The number of hamburgers sold by McDonald’s® last year.
  2. The number of coffee drinks sold by Starbucks® last year.
  3. The number of checks written last year.

I’m sure you know where I’m going with this, but the correct answer is “C.” The number of checks written far outnumbers the other items listed. Still, when was the last time you heard anyone question the relevancy of hamburgers or coffee to our society? Checks on the other hand …

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the majority of consumers still use checks. Not only are checks important to account holders, check writers are critical to the bottom line of a financial institution. It’s time financial institutions show them both some love — here’s why:

  1. Checks are a key engagement tool. A study by Javelin Strategy & Research confirms that checks are an important payment vehicle for most account holders and an essential way they connect with their financial institution. The average value of a check is 10x the average debit card transaction, proof that account holders entrust their largest payments to checks.
  2. Check writers are loyal. Forty-one percent of check writers have been with their financial institution for ten or more years, according to Javelin. That’s a lifetime of value that should make any financial institution sit up and take notice. Which brings me to number three …
  3. Check writers are high-value. Check writers acquire twice as many products and services from their primary financial institution than non-check users. They also have more assets. In addition, an account holder’s affluence is more highly correlated to check writing than to age — as income increases, so does check utilization.
  4. Investments made in mobile deposit capture have boosted the viability and profitability of checks. Thanks to advances in technology, depositing checks has never been easier, more convenient or more secure than it is today. Take advantage of this shift — embrace checks.

Now that you know why checks and check writers deserve a little more of your attention, here are a few ways you can give it to them!

  1. Capture the first check order. Financial institutions that fail to get the first check order risk missing out on future revenue from cross-sell, up-sell and fee income opportunities from check writers. What’s more, account holders want checks, so carry through with your commitment to customer service — give them what they want.
  2. Shift account holders to self-serve options. After their first order, encourage account holders to place reorders via self-service channels. This offers convenience, prevents errors, and delivers a better customer experience. Harland Clarke data shows that self-service orders earn a higher average value and helps minimize income lost to discretionary fee waivers.
  3. Promote remote deposit capture (RDC) security. Account holders prefer RDC once they’re accustomed to it, so make sure yours are aware of the technology and comfortable using it. Consider providing incentives to help them discover how easy it is and get over any initial hesitancy they may have. Likewise, highlight mobile deposit security features like Harland Clarke’s Photo Safe Deposit® to give account holders peace of mind and encourage the use of checks.
  4. Utilize a unique marketing tool. Your check packaging is capable of doing so much more than delivering checks, so let it do double — or even triple — duty for you. CheckFolio® can accommodate full-color, customized financial product messages targeted to specific account types. In addition, as a powerful marketing tool, Custom CheckFolio lets financial institutions of any size promote their brand and brand message to check writers repeatedly over the lifetime of their check usage.

Checks enjoy continued relevance to your financial institution and account holders. Don’t miss opportunities to grow revenue and deliver outstanding customer service. Instead, spread the love — promote, sell and utilize checks to reach your most valuable account holders.

To learn more about using your check program to boost revenue and enhance account holder satisfaction, visit our check programs webpage.

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Harland Clarke Corp. is a leading provider of best-in-class integrated payment solutions and marketing services, serving multiple industries including financial services, retail, healthcare, insurance, and telecommunications.

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