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Puhleeze stop thinking like it’s the 50s!

Checkbooks? Seriously? No one uses them anymore

Obvious and mediocre won’t be found here—but “Why didn’t I think of that?” will! Challenging the banking status quo is Dan Fisher’s personal mission. Obvious and mediocre won’t be found here—but “Why didn’t I think of that?” will! Challenging the banking status quo is Dan Fisher’s personal mission.

It is no secret that most individuals do not balance their checkbook.

Why? Because they don’t use it, don’t have one, or can’t find it!

That’s right.

What the heck, you say?

Say it ain’t so!

Sorry, it’s so.

Many high schools across the nation have curriculums that educate graduating seniors on how to write checks and balance check books. Banks have catalogs of personalized checks with matching checkbook covers.

But the reality is that checks and checkbooks for the consumer are dead. Graduating seniors forget the checkbook thing as soon as they pass the test and move on. And technology is to blame!

Check gets carded

The debit card has replaced the check. P2P has replaced paying a friend with cash, covering a bet, or sending a gift check or card.

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Same-day ACH is almost as fast as a wire, and the time between making the payment and seeing it hit the account is negligible.

Finally most EFT systems (ATM and Point of Sale) are real-time. What was formerly known as float has been sunk by technology. So it stands to reason that a check register is no longer relevant.

The mindset of the contemporary user is that they are depending on the systems their bank provides to keep them informed about transactions and their balances.

Keeping a register is just not efficient. Their thinking has changed, but secondary education and legacy banking thinking has not.

Mindset matters much

Why do I say this? Because legacy thinking drives more than attitudes about checkbooks.

Some banks today don’t have real-time debit card interfaces, but instead send out end-of-day batch files to their processor. Also, these same banks only load in clearing files at the end of the day; transfers made on the internet bank are batch files; and mobile capture deposits are not memo-posted.

It gets worse!

We have seen situations where the account balances at the ATM, bank teller terminal, and tele-bank (Interactive Voice Response Unit—IVR) at the same institution at the same time did not match.

The reason is a simple one, and that is the lack of a coordinated integration plan.

Back at the contemporary user, it will not take long for your customers to realize that the information on your banking system is unreliable.

This conclusion has nothing to do with a check register, but everything to do with how your bank thinks about the contemporary user, their lifestyle, and their banking needs.

Is your banking system reliable? Perhaps you should check it out before your customers start checking out of your bank.

Read Kelsey Neisen’s “Next Voices” blog “Farmer Jones wants mobile banking”… you’ll be surprised!

—The Wombat!

Dan Fisher

Dan Fisher is president and CEO of The Copper River Group, a consulting firm headquartered in Fargo, N. D., that focuses on technology and payment systems research and consulting for community financial institutions. For nearly 30 years, Fisher has worked in the financial industry using technology to improve the bottom line. He was CIO of Community First Bankshares (now part of Bank of the West), has served as a director of the Federal Reserve Board of Minneapolis, the chairman of the American Bankers Association Payment Systems Committee, and was a member of the Independent Community Bankers of America Payments Committee. Fisher has written numerous articles on banking technology and the payments system. He has authored or co-authored six books and recently published a book titled, "Capturing Your Customer! The New Technology of Remote Deposit." You can contact Fisher at dan@copperrivergroup.com or at 701-293-6222.
P.S. To understand Dan's nickname, check out "About the Wombat" on his website.       

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