End-users interact with COBOL-based systems and solutions much more often that you might think, says Ed Airey, product marketing director for COBOL solutions at application modernization and maintenance firm MicroFocus.
Banking, insurance, and even air and rail travel solutions that are customer-facing are often COBOL-based, because the language excels at both exact computation and at handling large volumes of data efficiently, says Airey.
"COBOL excels at processing large volumes of data, which is why it's used in industries that still perform what's called 'batch processing,'" says Airey. The Federal Reserve Bank, credit card companies, and the IRS all use COBOL-based systems to process large numbers of transactions at one time. In addition to these use cases, COBOL's used for security and screening purposes -- to run background checks for immigration and border protection and to process information against terrorist watch lists, for example.