The number of checks processed by the Federal Reserve System decreased in 2001 for the second consecutive year, according to the Federal Reserve System’s annual report to Congress. The report is additional evidence that check use in the United States is now declining. The Federal Reserve’s August 14, 2002 revision to its recent retail payments system research concluded that check use peaked sometime in the mid-1990s and has since been declining. In 2001, the Fed processed 16,905,016,000 checks, down 0.5 percent from the 16,993,800,000 checks processed in 2000. In contrast to check volume, the Fed’s automated clearing house (ACH) volume increased by 16.7 percent in 2001 to 4,448,361,000 items, up from 3,812,191,000 items in 2000. The Fed’s annual report also shows that costs and prices for check processing continue to increase.
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