What happens when you write a check

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate

Americans wrote 12.2 billion fewer checks in 2012 than they did in 2006, according to the most recent Federal Reserve data. Consumers increasingly favored electronic payments and debit and credit cards for spending. Even so, financial institutions processed 18.3 billion checks in a single year.

That's a huge amount of paper transactions that go ... somewhere. Here's what happens after you cut that check for your granddaughter, donate money to a nonprofit organization or pay your home repair contractor.

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