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Cheque users refuse to checkout

Cheque users refuse to checkout

Category: Money

Updated: 21/12/2010
First Published: 21/12/2010

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Half of the population has written a cheque in the last month, despite plans for the payment method to be phased out by 2018.

The decision to announce a target date to abolish cheques was taken last year, and the Payments Council says it is currently working on identifying and delivering alternatives.

While cheque usage has fallen compared with cash and debit cards, the move did draw some criticism as groups such as pensioners and businesses still rely on cheques.

The Payments Council has said it will make a final decision in 2016 on the closure of cheques from 2018.

Despite their impending disappearance, research by Which? has found that some 24 million (50%) Britons have written a cheque in the last month.

Around seven million people are planning to give a cheque as a gift this Christmas.

Over the last year, the majority of people (37 million) have written a cheque.

The reason for doing so varies, with two in five people using a cheque to pay a tradesman or a supplier, while just over one in five (23%) has sent one to a friend or relative as a present.

Once cheques have been phased-out in 2018, the alternative methods of payment people say they would be most comfortable using are cash, internet banking and direct debit.

People say they would be less comfortable using emerging payment methods such as pre-pay cards, 'wave and pay' contactless cards and mobile phone banking.

"Cheques may be in decline but millions of us still use them every year, whether it's to pay for tradesmen, for a school trip or as gifts to loved ones," commented Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith.

"Banks must ensure that alternative payment methods that all consumers are comfortable with are in place before cheques are consigned to the scrapheap."

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