FRB: Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act Home: It seems the days of the paper check are rapidly coming to an end. A new law that goes into effect in late October allows banks to send electronic images of checks to other banks.
Physically transporting the check is no longer required, which will drastically reduce the ability to “float” checks which I mastered in college. Depositing banks can scan the check, destroy the physical copy, and the electronic version inherits all the legal characteristics of the phyical check
The law facilitates check truncation by creating a new negotiable instrument called a substitute check, which would permit banks to truncate original checks, to process check information electronically, and to deliver substitute checks to banks that want to continue receiving paper checks. A substitute check would be the legal equivalent of the original check and would include all the information contained on the original check.
So, the paper check has been eliminated from the depositing to issuing bank. How long until merchants can scan and destroy the check onsite and send an electronic copy to the depositing bank? Soon, money could come out of your account within a few minutes of writing a check at the grocery store.
Snopes has a good write-up about it. You may as well get a check card.