I envision a better ACH. One that lets me pay anyone from any personal or business checking account I choose without having to give up my sensitive account information or authorization to withdraw funds. It would be very secure and I would control both the access and the timing of when I choose to make a payment. And it would be convenient. It would work with my existing bank so I wouldn't have to deal with the hassle of moving funds in and out of a 3rd party "holding account" like PayPal.
My mobile device would become my digital checkbook and registry. At my business I would write digitally originated checks straight from my accounting, CRM or ERP system. For proof of payment and for my own record keeping I would get the cancelled check image returned with my bank statement.
Anyone who can cash a check today would be able to accept my payment. Minus Interchange, merchants would favor it and reward me over other debit and payment options. This new low cost payment rail would support developer initiatives in P2P, social, gaming, micro and ecommerce too.
As 2011 predictions go, I say… don't write off the check. Keeping it green, the paperless check, having all the properties of its papered forefather, will emerge to retain its dominant role in our payment system.
In full disclosure, I'm not the only one to make such a prediction. The Fed, in a November 2009 white paper, said a "new kind of check - one never having any paper form - will transform the payments industry." You can read more on the evolution of the paperless check and the Fed white paper at http://gsf-inc.com/news.htm, then enjoy as the paperless check emerges in 2011.