Survey: 73% of Organizations are Transitioning their Business-to-Business Payments from Checks to Digital Payments

Wednesday, January 26th, 2022

Financial professionals are processing fewer checks; currently the median volume of checks processed is 500-999 per month compared to the 1000-1999 reported in 2015. Survey findings reveal median volume of ACH transactions have doubled in the last six years (1,000-1,999 per month versus 500-999). Median costs to issue and receive paper checks remain unchanged since 2015 at $2-$4 and $1-$2 per check respectively, while costs to initiate and receive ACH transactions are far less at $0.26-$0.50 per transaction. 

When it comes to incoming payments, 92% of organizations are using paper checks, while 87% are using ACH credit. Fewer companies are utilizing ACH credits as outgoing payments than are receiving them: 86% of organizations are using paper checks, 78% are using ACH credit and debit, and 74% are using Fedwire or CHIPS.

Most survey respondents are either extremely aware or aware of payments costs for checks, ACH credits and debits, and transactions through Fedwire and CHIPS. Cost awareness is slightly less for credit card, debit card and virtual card transactions. When it comes to the cost of real-time payments, awareness is low. Data on the cost of real-time payments was collected for the first time this year. 

"The findings of this survey confirm that paper checks to continue to be considerably more expensive than some electronic payment methods." said Jim Kaitz, president and CEO of AFP. "As the coronavirus pandemic unfolded, companies sought more streamlined and efficient payments processes, which accelerated the transition to digital payments. It will be interesting to see how payment types evolve as the pandemic continues and new real-time payment rails become more established."

"It's clear the thought process around business payments continues to evolve. While paper checks remain a popular payment method in B2B payments, the pandemic has accelerated a major shift and pushed companies toward fully automating payments," said John Coughlin, President of Corpay, a FLEETCOR Company. "The last few years have demonstrated that electronic payments streamline operations and allow companies to close transactions and receive funds faster, without the traditional bottlenecks from previous processes such as paper checks."

In September 2021, the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) conducted a survey of treasury professionals regarding their payments processes and received 347 responses. These responses form the basis of the report. If you are a member of the press and would like a copy of the report or have any questions, please contact Melissa Rawak, AFP managing director, at