As money changes hands by electronic means more frequently these days, some of the methods we used to use for financial transactions are becoming a thing of the past. It's rare enough to see people pulling currency out of their wallets when a debit or credit card will do -- but when is the last time you wrote a check?

According to, the British use checks (or "cheques" in the local parlance) so infrequently that the U.K. Payments Council plans on phasing out the paper payments completely by 2018. A few other European nations have already done away with check-writing.

Not everyone is happy with the British decision, especially the elderly, many of whom don't use the Internet. And then there are the potential security risks that come along with making electronic transactions.

Could the same fate await checks in the United States? Federal Reserve figures show that check usage declined by about 6.5% a year from 2003 to 2006. Saying goodbye to checks wouldn't be a big blow to the likes of check printers VistaPrint (NASDAQ:VPRT) or R.R. Donnelly & Sons (NASDAQ:RRD), which are well-diversified in other areas of printing, and your local Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) branch probably wouldn't mind having fewer papers to keep track of and shuffle around.

What do you think? Can you see Americans following the U.K.'s lead, or will paper checks be around for a while? Do you use checks much these days? Let us know in the comments box below.

Fool online editor Adrian Rush writes exactly one check a month, to his old-fashioned landlord. He has no position in any of the stocks mentioned in this story. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Fool's disclosure policy is all about direct deposit.