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Inquiry launched into abolition of cheques

Inquiry launched into abolition of cheques

Category: Money

Updated: 14/04/2011
First Published: 14/04/2011

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 It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

The future of cheques remains up in the air after another inquiry has been launched into the decision to phase them out by 2018.

The decision to abolish the payment method was made in 2009, however, an inquiry by the Treasury Select Committee has cast doubt over the argument that cheques are in 'terminal decline'.

The Payments Council, which made the decision to do away with cheques, tried to ease public concern by saying that the payment method would only be scrapped if viable alternatives were found

But business groups and other organisations hit out at the decision, as many smaller companies and older people rely on cheques.

A decision has now been made to invite new evidence, with Andrew Tyrie MP saying the committee has been 'inundated by letters from the public telling us they rely on cheques'.

The group will look to receive evidence on:

  • Trends over time in the use of cheques as a payment mechanism, including estimates of likely usage over the next five to ten years;
  • The advantages and disadvantages of abolition, including the impact of abolition on particular groups in society;
  • Analysis of the likely costs and benefits of the abolition of cheques;
  • Progress in the development of suitable alternative payment mechanisms; and
  • The decision to close the Cheque Guarantee Scheme and the implications for cheque usage and the future of cheques.

"The Payments Council had seemingly forgotten about the millions of people who remain less at ease with the latest technology," said Mr Tyrie.

"Since our last inquiry we have been inundated by letters from the public telling us that they rely on cheques."

"Many charities, small businesses and vulnerable people - including pensioners - depend on cheques. Their needs must be considered.

"They should not be forced into shredding their cheque books."

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