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The News & Observer reports that all five Whole Foods store in the North Carolina Triangle stopped accepting checks this week “in order to limit the amount of customer information the grocer collected and to increase checkout speed, said Whole Foods spokeswoman Teresa Jones. The policy is already in place at many of its 300 U.S. stores.”

The National Retail Federation (NRF) says that this is not reflective of a broader trend, and that in fact retailers would rather get cash or checks because they receive 100 cents on the dollar, as opposed to less money that they get when the customer uses a debit or credit card.

But while retailers may prefer checks to credit and debit cards, that runs counter to what consumers want. According to the story, “last year, just 5 percent of consumers reported that writing a check is their preferred method of retail payment, down from 11 percent in 2005 and 18 percent in 2001, according to a study by BAI Research and Hitachi Consulting.”
KC's View:
I cannot even remember the last time I wrote a check for anything - almost every payment I make is via a debit card or through direct online payments from my bank. But the truth is that all the publicity about hidden swipe fees and debit card usage fees has me reconsidering this approach ... and I wonder to what extent we might start to see a resurgence of check writing, especially if companies can promote the benefits.

On the other hand, if convenience is the prime motivator, the Whole Foods approach won’t get any blow back.