My first question here was inspired by the massive load of questions labeled scam here, especially the once involving checks. If this is too broad or off topic in some way please let me know so I can improve and/or narrow down the question a bit.
Though checks still exist in some niches within the the EU, they are a very uncommon method to transfer money and as a apayment system in general. From an european perspective reading & looking at the possible pitfalls of the checking system here on Money SE made me wonder as of why US and Canada still use such an antiquated system that's widely used in scams (deposit scams via uncovered, bouncing checks)?
As I read more on them I found out that the first checks started cropping up in the United States toward the end of the 17th century, and the first printed versions were introduced in 1762 by British banker Lawrence Childs. Before that, checks were simply written out by hand, sort of like IOUs.
A brief summary of the origins:
The earliest usage of checks may have originated with ancient Roman praescriptiones, but checks resembling what we have today are more definitively traced to 9th-century Muslim traders. As international commerce grew—and required merchants to travel in person over multiple weeks or months—merchants were often burdened with bags of coins they needed to carry with them. That led traders to invent the sakk, which was a piece of paper with instructions to the merchant’s bank to make a payment from his account. A sakk could be cashed in another city or country, making travel easier and safer from theft.
The advent of printed checks made exchanging money safer and easier. The United States government did not print nationally redeemable paper money until the Civil War. (Individual banks or states could print their own money, but no one legally had to accept it.) Until the government started printing gold-backed banknotes, there often weren’t not enough coins in circulation to do business properly. Similarly in the United Kingdom, more than 75 percent of the population never handled paper money, which was available mainly in large denominations and used by the upper classes. It wasn’t until after World War I that British banknotes became fully backed by securities and thus more widespread.
While I'm aware that there are cashier's checks which are more secure in terms of available funds to cover the check, why the regular checks just weren't replaced by methods similar to SWIFT, SEPA, BACS or CHAPS by now as they are often the more attractive, faster, tranparent & secure payment method.
Am I missing some downsides of the modern systems and maybe disregarding some major advantages that regular checks have? Wouldn't the customers and banks benefit from abolishing the antiquated checking system and switching to more modern methods of electronical transfers?
EDIT (@jcaron thankfully pointed out France as an exception):
Total number of check payments in 27 countries in Europe from 2000 to 2020 in millions (note France as an exception - though declining over the years as well).
Here is the source