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Survey: Check Use Drops to All-Time Low for B2B Payments

The gap between paper and digital payments continues to widen in North America, according to findings from the 2022 AFP Digital Payments Survey.

October 4, 2022 — Bethesda, Md. — Check usage continues to decline for business-to-business (B2B) payments in U.S. and Canada (North America), falling to an all-time low of 33% since AFP began tracking this data in 2004, according to the 2022 AFP Digital Payments Survey, underwritten by J.P. Morgan.

B2B check payments have dropped 9 percentage points in North America since 2019. This is consistent with the steady deadline in check usage reported by organizations over the past two decades. Since 2004, check usage has fallen by over 40 percentage points.

Within North America, when paying major suppliers, the gap between paper and digital payments has widened to 13 percentage points, with 39 percent of organizations using ACH credits while 26 percent continue to use checks. This gap has increased by 11 percentage points since 2019, when the gap between ACH and checks was only two percentage points.

Additional key findings include:

  • Speed is critical for B2B payments. A majority of all survey respondents (54%) report that speed is the primary driver when choosing a payment method. And 62% of all survey respondents report that B2B transactions will benefit the most from faster/real-time payments.
  • A third of all survey respondents (33%) report they are unfamiliar with ISO 20022 — the global standard on which new payment systems rely.
  • Awareness of ISO 20022 is higher in regions outside of North America, with only 29% of respondents indicating that they are unfamiliar with the standard, compared to 36% in North America.

“In the face of wide-ranging disruptions around the world, financial professionals continue to improve their payments processes and become more nimble in response,” said Jim Kaitz, president and chief executive of AFP. “Given that digital payment methods are more efficient and have a much lower risk for fraud, it is encouraging to see that digital payments are on the rise.”

“This year’s survey insights, as compared to when the last survey was conducted in 2019, confirm the ongoing acceleration toward digital payments. Recognizing that many organizations are currently in the midst of their transformation to digital, J.P. Morgan is committed to serving as a trusted leader and innovator, staying at the forefront of payments,” said Lori Schwartz, Managing Director, Corporate & Investment Banking Payments of J.P. Morgan.

The 2022 AFP Digital Payments Survey was conducted in June 2022 and received 256 responses from AFP corporate practitioners and prospects. 178 of the responses came from corporate practitioners in the U.S. and Canada, and 78 responses came from treasury practitioners representing other countries. Full survey results are available on the 2022 AFP Digital Payments Survey page. Please direct all press inquiries to Melissa Rawak, managing director, at [email protected].

About AFP®
Headquartered outside of Washington, D.C., and located regionally in Singapore, the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) is the professional society committed to advancing the success of treasury and finance members and their organizations. Established and administered by AFP, the Certified Treasury Professional and Certified Corporate FP&A Professional credentials set standards of excellence in treasury and finance.

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