Pick one. The figure 18 billion represents:
- The number of hamburgers sold by McDonald’s last year.
- The number of coffee drinks sold by Starbucks last year.
- The number of checks written last year.
I’m sure you know where I’m going with this, but the correct answer is C. The number of checks written far outnumbers the other items listed. Still, when was the last time you heard anyone question the relevancy of hamburgers or coffee to our society? Checks on the other hand
Contrary to conventional wisdom, the vast majority of consumers still use checks. Not only are checks important to account holders, check writers are critical to the bottom line of a financial institution. It’s time financial institutions show them both some love here’s why:
- Checks are a key engagement tool. A study by Javelin Strategy & Research confirms that checks are an important payment vehicle for most account holders and an essential way they connect with their financial institution. The average value of a check written is 10 times larger than the average debit card transaction, evidence that account holders are entrusting their largest payments to checks.
- Check writers are loyal. Forty-one percent of check writers have been with their financial institution for 10 or more years, according to the aforementioned Javelin study. This lengthy tenure translates to a lifetime value that should make any financial institution sit up and take notice. Which brings me to number three
- Check writers are high-value. Check writers acquire twice as many products and services from their primary financial institution than non-check users. They also have more assets. In addition, an account holder’s affluence is more highly correlated to check writing than to age as income increases, so does check utilization.
- Investments made in mobile deposit capture have boosted the viability and profitability of checks. Thanks to advances in technology, depositing checks has never been easier, more convenient or more secure than it is today. Take advantage of this shift embrace checks.
Now that you know why checks and check writers deserve a little more of your attention, here are a few ways you can give it to them:
- Capture the first check order. Financial institutions that fail to get the first check order risk missing out on future revenue from cross-sell, up-sell and fee income opportunities from check writers. What’s more, account holders want checks, so carry through your commitment to customer service give them what they want.
- Shift account holders to self-serve options. After capturing the first order, encourage account holders to place reorders via self-service channels. It offers them the convenience of ordering 24/7/365 and prevents errors, delivering a better customer experience. Harland Clarke data show that self-service orders have a higher average order value and help minimize income lost due to discretionary fee waivers. It’s your classic win-win.
- Promote remote deposit capture (RDC) security. Account holders like RDC once they understand it, so make sure yours are aware of and comfortable with the technology. Consider providing an incentive for them to get over any initial hesitancy and discover how easy it is. Likewise, communicate the value of mobile deposit security features like Harland Clarke’s Photo Safe DepositTM to give account holders peace of mind and encourage the use of checks.
- Utilize a unique marketing tool. Your check packaging is capable of doing so much more than delivering checks, so let it do double or even triple duty for you. CheckFolio can accommodate full-color, customized financial product messages. In addition, as a powerful marketing tool, Custom CheckFolio lets financial institutions of any size promote their brand and brand message to check writers repeatedly over the lifetime of their check usage.
Checks enjoy continued relevance to your financial institution and account holders. Don’t miss opportunities to grow revenue and deliver outstanding customer service. Instead, spread the love promote, sell and utilize checks to reach your most valuable account holders.
Learn more about CheckFolio and reaching your most valuable account holders here.
Karen Salamone is vice president of marketing at Harland Clarke.