The Federal Reserve has published an updated paper on the use of checks and other noncash payment instruments in the United States.
Taken together, the data show that an estimated 32.8 billion checks were paid in the United States in 1979, 49.5 billion in 1995, and 42.5 billion in 2000 (chart 1). The exact year in which check use peaked is unknown, but it appears that the number paid began to decline sometime in the mid-1990s. By 2000, retail electronic payments had gained considerable ground. Nonetheless, checks remained the pre-dominant type of retail noncash payment. Checks also continued to account for a large proportion of the total value of retail noncash payments in 2000, though the real value of total checks paid had declined since 1979.