The number of payments made by check is declining, butlockboxes, the bank facilities that process payments forbusinesses, are keeping busy. The demand for their services iscoming partly from companies that used to process their ownpayments but decided they could benefit from using a lockboxinstead. Lockboxes are also increasingly processing electronicpayments in addition to paper checks.

An Aite Group report released last year estimated that retaillockbox, which handles consumer payments to businesses, is growing0.4% a year as more consumers pay bills online, while wholesalelockbox, which deals with business-to-business payments, is growingat a compound annual rate of 2.9%.

Nancy Atkinson, a senior analyst at Aite Group, said that whilethe use of checks is not growing, lockbox volume is getting a boostas companies that previously handled their receivables in-housedecide to outsource that work, perhaps because they're impressed bythe efficiencies offered by increasingly automated lockboxes.

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Susan Kelly

Susan Kelly is a business journalist who has written for Treasury & Risk, FierceCFO, Global Finance, Financial Week, Bridge News and The Bond Buyer.