What Today’s Client Payment Trends Mean for You

Think about the last time you made a purchase. Did you count out a handful of bills and coins? Fill out and tear a check from your checkbook? Reach for a card, and swipe or insert?

If you used a credit or debit card to pay, the latest research shows you’re in the majority. This overwhelming shift toward electronic payment methods has implications for how businesses like yours operate. Let’s dig into these payment trends in greater detail and look at what they mean for CPA firms now and in years to come.

Check use is declining, especially among young people

Even if you’re committed to checks as the way you want to get paid for your work, there will come a time in the not-too-distant future when the majority of your clients can no longer pay by check. Research shows paper check use is decidedly on the decline.

A survey by Fiserv found that more than half of consumers—55 percent—said they don’t use checks or rarely carry their checkbook with them. Research from GOBankingRates found that 38 percent of people say they never write checks, period. Twenty percent said they only write checks a few times a year. And among your youngest clients (and future clients), check writing is even rarer, with 61 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds saying they never write checks.

As Greg Litster, founder of SAFEChecks, told NPR, “The younger generation—the kids who are in high school, in college now—don’t even know how to write a check. It is quite remarkable, but it is a fact.”

Credit and debit are today’s preferred payment methods

As the digital revolution has taken hold, paper checks have been eclipsed by electronic payment methods, with credit and debit cards leading the pack. According to a survey by TSYS, 75 percent of people say they prefer to pay for things with a credit or debit card. More than half of those surveyed believe credit or debit is the safest payment type.

These trends don’t just describe everyday retail purchases; they also relate to how people prefer to pay bills today. …

Continue reading and find out what this means for your business by visiting the CPACharge blog.

Visit aicpa.org/cpacharge or call (877) 685-3778 for more information on the AICPA online payments program for AICPA members.