Two Fed Studies to Assess U.S. Check Writing,
The Federal Reserve is conducting two studies this year to gain information on check writing and electronic payments in the United States. One study, which began in January, is calculating the number and value of electronic payments, and the other, to be conducted in late spring, will tally the same data with checks. Both studies build on information the Fed gathered in 2001, when it conducted three studies of the nation’s usage of checks and electronic payments.
The new studies’ results, which will be released later this year, should help financial institutions understand and plan for a payment system in transition and make better-informed decisions about future investments in their payment technology. Comparing the 2004 studies’ results with those from 2001 “will be extremely important in charting trends in the nation’s payments system that will be useful for all industry participants,” said Richard Oliver, a senior vice president of the Atlanta Fed and the Federal Reserve System’s manager for retail payments.
The Fed will work with two consulting firms: Dove Consulting Group on the electronic payment study and Global Concepts Inc. on the check writing study. Both studies are being led by the Fed’s Financial Services Policy Committee, which is chaired by Gary Stern, president of the Minneapolis Fed.
Upon becoming chair of the Fed’s Financial Services Policy Committee in June 2003, Stern noted the increasing pace of change in the system of national and international payments. “The shift from paper to electronics is well under way and bodes well for increased efficiency, safety and soundness,” he said. “The next five years will likely bring accelerated change as consumers and businesses adopt more convenient payments choices. It is a significant juncture, a time to be both progressive and prudent.”
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