"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. "
-Andy Warhol (1928-1987), The Philosophy of Andy Warhol
The death of paper checks has been predicted for many years. Starting in the 1960s, futurists thought that computers and electronic networks would replace paper checks, long the leader in noncash retail payments. Yet in 2000, 42.5 billion paper checks were still being written. What such prognosticators forgot was that economic agents have to have an incentive to change their behavior because there is always some cost for changing it.
Converting large-value payments turned out to be fairly straightforward because they …