There was time when people used cheques, and used them a lot. Cheques once accounted for 86 percent of all non-cash payments, and were the hot new payment technology. After second World War, the Americans adopted cheque writing like never before. In 1940s
and 1950s, the overall number of ‘chequing accounts’ (frequently spelled as a 'checking account', like someone is always checking what we do with it :-)) in the U.S. doubled. The number of cheques written peaked to about 8 billion in mid 1950s.
When debit cards got introduced, over time they basically became a 'cheque killer'. Today most of the people predominantly pay using their credit and debit cards and manage they bank account activities mainly via ATM and mobile / online banking. Cheques may
still be used occasionally (about less than 5% of volume / value of all payments), but they seem well on their way out. Cheques only seem to continue to be a popular payment method for people over 65, with 68% of this demographic group still using them. However,
the payment habits of younger generation are quite opposite, with 88 per cent of 16-to 34-year-olds now very rarely or never using cheques.
I believe that everyone may agree that a dawn of Digital Banking is inevitably upon us. In the foreseeable future, almost nobody will likely be using cheques. The banks aspiring to become digital age leaders, shall probably re-think now, about modernizing their
terminology. For example, is the name ‘chequing account’ still relevant now, when cheques are clearly becoming an endangered species of the banking ecosystem? Would it not better name be ‘spending account’, ‘flex account’ or ‘funding account’ maybe? Or potentially
a name so differently ‘cool’ that only Millennials could come up with it?
In my personal view, going forward, any name but ‘chequing account’ would sound much fresher and better aligned with digital banking strategy of the future. What do you think?