However, the extent to which personal cheque accounts have increased in number over the last ten years is perhaps a little surprising. Together with falling cheque numbers, the outcome is a decline in annual cheques from 17.1 per personal account in 2009 to 5.2 in 2015 and 2.1 in 2019. A similar decline has occurred with commercial cheques which have fallen from 77.7 per personal account in 2009 to 34.4 in 2015 and 14.6 in 2019.
Often the domain of higher value transactions (think house deposits, for example), the average cheque value has been steadily increasing over many years. The last 12 months has however seen a change in this trend with customer and financial institution cheques experiencing declines.
The decline in value of cheques over the last ten years was $A803 billion. Should that rate of dollar contraction be maintained, there will be zero cheque value processed in Australia before the next decade has passed.
That position is already at hand in a number of European countries such as Sweden and the Netherlands. International payments data compiled by the Bank for International Settlements (known as The Red Book) shows key markets can be allocated into two broad categories with the average value of cheques per inhabitant either relatively steady or rapidly falling.