It has been confirmed that cheques are to be phased out of use by the end of October 2018.
The Payments Council Board said that with the use of cheques in long term, terminal decline, it was faced with the choice of either managing the decline to ensure that users had alternatives easily available to them, or to stand back and let the decline take its course.
To ensure that consumers and businesses are not left high and dry when the closure of cheque clearing occurs, the council said it will use the next nine years to seek, promote and explain existing alternatives.
Where innovation and new options are required, it will ensure that they are put in place.
While explaining cheque use had been in decline since 1990 and had fallen by 40% over the last five years, the council acknowledged there were still plenty of situations where cheques were used extensively.
It added that the payments industry had to rise to the challenge of finding easy-to-use efficient alternatives for these payments and to ensure that they are easily accessible and well understood by cheque users.
"Customers aren't likely to see any immediate change as the target date is still a long way off," said the chief executive of the Payments Council, Paul Smee.
"We have already done a significant amount of work, research and consultation which has convinced us that 2018 is achievable. But the real challenge lies ahead if we are going to be comfortable to wave goodbye to the cheque, which undeniably occupies a unique place in British culture."
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