BNY Mellon, one of the largest cheque processors in the US, is spearheading efforts to reduce cheque-based payments, through a series of digital innovations and financial benefits.
To support its US clients’ transition from paper to electronic transactions, the bank is exploring the use of carbon-tracking tools, which disclose the environmental cost of their paper payments. BNY Mellon is also providing price discounts on certain digital payment solutions - as well as waiving some upfront implementation fees - for select clients that commit to the transition.
Carl Slabicki, BNY Mellon’s co-head of global payments, notes: “Recent innovations in digital payments are shining a brighter light on the inefficiencies of check processing. The business reasons, coupled with the environmental impact, make embracing electronic payments a clear imperative and we are leading the way with tools and incentives to make that happen.”
According to the bank, 2.3 billion cheques are collected per annum as customers pay their bills. The environmental impact of this is considerable - equating to some 455,000 trees. Saving all those trees would be the same as taking nearly 5,000 passenger cars off the road for one year.
“Alternatives to checks are readily available - and have been for a long time,” argues Eric Boughner, chairman, BNY Mellon Pennsylvania. “While we will continue to support checks, we are now - more than ever - focused on offering new and enhanced solutions that can help drive the paper-to-digital journey for our clients, as well as supporting them in their wider sustainability efforts.”
Through BNY Mellon’s work, clients are already reducing the amount of cheques they send to the bank: by 3% in 2020 and by 8.5% from 2019 levels, with those cheque volumes falling to 291 million last year.
The bank’s commitment to reducing the industry’s use of paper cheques is part of an overarching digital strategy from its Treasury Services unit.BNY Mellon recently launched a real-time electronic bill and payment solution, which enables US businesses to present digital bills to their consumer clients in real-time and receive instant payments via the consumers' preferred online and mobile banking channels.