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If you still write checks, you're an endangered species

Can we please at least keep our giant novelty checks?
Can we please at least keep our giant novelty checks?
Getty Images

Remember balancing your checkbook? (And how you hated-doing-it-slash-never-did-it?) If current trends continue, checkbooks are becoming a distant memory for everyone. A study released by the Federal Reserve this week shows that checks are quickly fading away.

In 2012, Americans made an estimated 122.4 billion non-cash payments, according to the Fed. Only 18.3 billion were by check, a decline of more than 50 percent from just 12 years ago. In 2000, there were nearly 42 billion check payments in the US.

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Debit and credit cards appear to have taken over. Credit card transactions nearly doubled from 12.3 billion to 23.8 billion over that period. Debit card transactions grew nearly five times over, from 8.3 to 47 billion.

Those few checks we are still writing tend to be big ones. More than 90 percent of that decline is in checks for $500 or less, according to data compiled by Bankrate.com. In addition, nearly half of the total decline was in checks for $50 or less.