Control Cash Flow

Living With Checks

How to deal with paper payments efficiently

Living With Checks

Checks aren’t disappearing anytime soon. 

The Federal Reserve sees a steady shift away from checks of 6 percent annually.  However, for a typical business with 60 percent of payments sent via paper check today1, a 6 percent annual drop in check volume means the business will still be remitting 34 percent of its payments by check ten years from now. Checks could remain for quite a while even as business owners say they would prefer electronic payment methods like ACH (Automated Clearing House), wire transfer and card1.

Dealing with paper efficiently

The continuing presence of checks doesn’t mean that businesses have to endure the high invoice processing costs, heightened fraud risk, and increased reconciliation/research costs that come with paper payments. There are some ways to mitigate the challenges paper payments present while managing cash more efficiently.

Actively shift to more electronic payments - The obvious answer to manage paper payments is to move as many payments as possible to an electronic environment.  ACH, wire transfer, and credit and debit card payments all reduce costs and improve reconciliation processing efficiency.  SunTrust Research finds that business owners want faster processing the most, but also value reliable payments and secure transactions when considering electronic payment processing1.


Simplify payments - Consolidating the majority of your payments through an online bill pay system allows you to manage all your business cash flow needs, including payables, receivables, expenses and business transactions with real-time access to information. Employee payroll can also be easily incorporated into most online systems. Scheduling, editing and paying bills and payroll, even setting up reminders, makes it easy for your business stay on top of your cash flow and reduce processing fees while cutting down on lost, late or possibly misappropriated payments.

Increase fraud protection -  Checks are still the number one form of payment fraud perpetrated on businesses today2. Taking simple steps like reconciling accounts daily, separating duties, implementing dual approval for payments and dedicating a single computer for all banking/payment activity can go a long way towards minimizing fraud risk.  Outsourcing reconciliation processes is another option, which also benefits your Accounts Payable staff by reducing their workload, allowing time for other more profitable activities.  In fact, 88% of businesses surveyed by the AFP (Association of Financial Professionals) use a Positive Pay service to guard against check fraud2

Keep paper offsite - Gain faster access to funds with outsourced lockboxes that eliminate processing high volume checks manually in-house.  You can save storage fees and staff workload by warehousing those cancelled paper checks offsite, taking advantage of image retrieval services to provide more easily retrievable archives supporting payment reconciliation and servicing.

Don’t let paper payments crimp your business.  Ask your Treasury Sales Officer or Relationship Manager to start a payments review and find ways to process your checks more efficiently and securely.

1 SunTrust Research Q4 2015

2 Association for Financial Professionals (AFP); 2016 Payments Fraud and Control Survey

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.


Investment and Insurance Products:

Are Not FDIC or any other Government Agency Insured   Are Not Bank Guaranteed  May Lose Value 

© 2018 SunTrust Banks, Inc

equal housing logoSunTrust Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. Member FDIC

equal housing logoEqual Housing Lender. SunTrust Mortgage, Inc

SunTrust, SunTrust Mortgage, SunTrust PortfolioView, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, SunTrust Premier Program, AMC Pinnacle, AMC Premier, Access 3, Signature Advantage Brokerage, Custom Choice Loan and SunTrust SummitView are federally registered service marks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Services provided by the following affiliates of SunTrust Banks, Inc.: Banking products and services are provided by SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. Trust and investment management services are provided by SunTrust Bank, SunTrust Delaware Trust Company and SunTrust Banks Trust Company (Cayman) Limited. Securities, brokerage accounts and insurance (including annuities) are offered by SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., a SEC registered broker-dealer, member FINRA, SIPC, and a licensed insurance agency. Investment advisory services are offered by SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc., a SEC registered adviser. GFO Advisory Services, LLC is a SEC registered investment adviser that provides investment advisory services to a group of private investment funds and other non-investment advisory services to affiliates. Mortgage products and services are provided by SunTrust Mortgage, Inc.

SunTrust Mortgage, Inc. - NMLS #2915, 901 Semmes Avenue, Richmond, VA 23224, 1-800-634-7928. CA: licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, IL: Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee #MB-989, Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, 100 W. Randolph, Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60601, 1-888-473-4858, MA: Mortgage Lender license #-ML-2915, NJ: Mortgage Banker License - New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, NY: Licensed Mortgage Banker—NYS Department of Financial Services, and RI: Rhode Island Licensed Lender.

"SunTrust Advisors" may be officers and/or associated persons of the following affiliates of SunTrust Banks, Inc.: SunTrust Bank, our commercial bank, which provides banking, trust and asset management services; SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., a registered broker-dealer, which is a member of FINRA and SIPC, and a licensed insurance agency, and which provides securities, annuities and life insurance products; SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc., a SEC registered investment adviser which provides Investment Advisory services.

SunTrust Private Wealth Management, International Wealth Management, Business Owner Specialty Group, Sports and Entertainment Group, and Legal and Medical Specialty Groups and GenSpring are marketing names used by SunTrust Bank, SunTrust Banks Trust Company (Cayman) Limited, SunTrust Delaware Trust Company, SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., and SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc.

SunTrust Bank and its affiliates do not accept fiduciary responsibility for all banking and investment account types offered. Please consult with your SunTrust representative to determine whether SunTrust and its affiliates have agreed to accept fiduciary responsibility for your account(s) and if you have completed the documentation necessary to establish a fiduciary relationship with SunTrust Bank or an affiliate. Additional information regarding account types and important disclosures may be found at

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey is the trade name for the corporate and investment banking services of SunTrust Banks, Inc. and its subsidiaries, including SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., member FINRA and SIPC.