Using paper checks to make payments is considerably more expensive for businesses than some electronic payment methods, according to a new survey.

The Association for Finance Professionals said in its inaugural 2015 Payments Cost Benchmarking Survey that the estimated median cost of a check transaction is $3.00, compared with a range of between $0.26 and $0.50 per automatic clearing house (ACH) credit transaction and $1.50 for a purchasing card transaction.

More than two out of three finance professionals who responded to the survey reported that their organizations would replace paper checks with electronic payments if there were a cost benefit of doing so. More than one-third (36%) of organizations would shift to electronic payments if the cost savings were up to 10% and an additional 32% would make the move if the savings were greater than 10%.

“The report findings reinforce what we hear every day from our clients — that check-based payments are costly and inefficient and automation is a critical to support business growth,” Jessica Moran, general manager of cloud payment solutions at Bottomline Technologies, said in a news release. Bottomline Technologies underwrote the survey.

Not surprisingly, public companies were more sensitive to cost. Nearly half (46%) indicated they would replace paper checks with electronic payments if the cost savings were up to 10% and only 25% plan to continue using checks regardless of cost.

By comparison, one-third of private organizations would continue to use checks regardless of costs and 37% would transition to electronic payments if checks saved them up to 10%.

According to the AFP, nearly 80% of organizations are in the process of transitioning their business-to-business payments from paper checks to electronic payments.

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