Checks: A Dying Vertical, Very Much Alive – By Bill Swartwout

by Colleen on September 23, 2011

Would you like to get involved in marketing the lucrative checks vertical, but you’re afraid to invest time and resources in a “supposedly” dying industry? Let’s set the record straight.

From a Federal Reserve Press Release (December 8, 2010) we can gather a few facts about non-cash payments in the US, and see that writing checks has declined a few percent in each of the last four years. But the “average” person still writes seven checks a month for $24 billion annually.

Other facts contained therein, however, also open some eyes and explain why the online sale of checks has been breaking records for several manufacturers/merchants.

The most notable fact being that the use of credit cards has declined, albeit, slightly at 0.2%, but the use of debit cards have increased nearly 15%. What this means is that more people are making use of checking accounts to pay bills. Every checking account has paper checks attached to it.

“But I don’t write checks any more. Nobody does.” Indeed, we hear this time and again from contemporaries whom we meet at conferences. Well, neither do I… well, not many. But we are not Mr. or Ms. Average American.

So I ask, “Do you have a checking account?” (Yes, but I never use up all the checks.) “What happens if you buy a house or move to a new apartment? (I need new checks.) “What if you get married?” (Need new checks.) “Have a child going off to college?” (Need checks.) “How about divorced?” (Need new checks.) “Actually you need two sets!” (Laughter…) But they get the point.

Checks are convenient for consumers to purchase online and the number of choices (images/designs) is incredibly better than at a bank. The big advantage, however, is the competitive pricing found online, especially compared to what most banks charge.

So, how do you choose a good program with which to work? There are a dozen or so checks merchants with affiliate programs. You may want to combine some to offer your readers greater choices, or you may want to focus on a niche that compliments your current site(s).

Regardless, be sure to choose a merchant with a large (and growing) selection. There is a lot of markup in putting ink on paper – so you can easily find a program that starts at commission levels of 25%.

Several even pay commissions on shipping, which adds to the average order value (AOV).

And that’s just for the personal checks niche. There is a whole other “need” in the realm of business checks. Go ahead, give it a try – selling checks online is for real, it works, and is certainly not dying.

Bill founded the Beaches and Towns Network and, when not flying, co-manages

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