LIFESTYLE

Target will stop accepting personal checks next week. Are the days of the payment method numbered?

Jul 9, 2024, 10:32 AM

FILE - A shopper heads into a Target store Jan. 11, 2024, in Lakewood, Colo. Target will no longer ...

FILE - A shopper heads into a Target store Jan. 11, 2024, in Lakewood, Colo. Target will no longer accept personal checks from shoppers as of July 15, underscoring how this once popular method of payment has gone the way of such archaic artifacts as the floppy disc or the rolodex. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Target will no longer accept personal checks from shoppers as of July 15, another sign of how a once ubiquitous payment method is going the way of outmoded objects like floppy disks and the Rolodex.

The Minneapolis-based discounter confirmed the move in a statement to The Associated Press on Tuesday, citing “extremely low volumes” of customers who still write checks. Target said it remained committed to creating an easy and convenient checkout experience with credit and debit cards, “buy now, pay later” services and the Target Circle membership program, which applies deals automatically at checkout.

“We have taken several measures to notify guests in advance” about the no-checks policy, the company said.

Target’s decision leaves Walmart, Macy’s and Kohl’s among the retailers that still accept personal checks at their stores. Whole Foods Market and the Aldi supermarket chain previously stopped taking checks from customers.

Shoppers have pulled out checkbooks increasingly less often since the mid-1990s. Cash-dispensing ATMs, debit cards, online banking and mobile payment systems like Venmo and Apple Pay mean many young adults may never have written a check.

The number of payments made with checks declined to 14.5 billion with a value of nearly $26 trillion in 2018, a decrease of 3.6 billion and $3.39 trillion from 2015, according to a Federal Reserve study from 2019, the most recent year for which data was available.

Total credit card and debit card payments grew at annual rate of nearly 9% during the same period and accounted for 75.3% of core non-cash payments in 2018, the study said.

Debit cards, both prepaid and non-prepaid, were used almost twice as often as credit cards in 2018, but the value of credit card payments exceeded the value of debit card payments by almost 30%, the U.S. central bank study said.

The drop in check writing enabled the Federal Reserve to sharply reduce its national check processing infrastructure. In 2003, it ran 45 check-processing locations nationwide; since 2010, it has operated only one.

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Target will stop accepting personal checks next week. Are the days of the payment method numbered?