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Cheques campaign not over yet

8 August 2011

The UK's major banks and building societies have been requested to outline the steps they are taking to ensure that cheques continue to be widely accepted and easily available across the UK.


The move comes amid mounting concern that cheques are still in jeopardy despite the Payments Council announcement in July that they will stay in use for as long as they are used.

Since that announcement, banks and building societies have remained silent on what they will do to bolster confidence in cheques after they abolished the cheque guarantee card in June.  A growing number of members of the public across the United Kingdom are complaining that retailers are increasingly refusing to accept cheques.

Age Scotland spokesman Callum Chomczuk said: "Confidence in cheques was seriously undermined when the guarantee card was abolished and therefore we need to know what, if any, definite plans are in place to restore trust in cheques.  Otherwise, they will simply be allowed to slowly disappear from everyday use and their demise will be blamed on a lack of demand.

"Cheques are too important to many older people to be allowed to just fade away, particularly as the banks and building societies have not come up with a safe and accessible alternative payment system that allows people to maintain their financial independence."

Nearly three out of four people over 65 have used a cheque in the last 12 months. That figure is 60 per cent for the rest of the public. Research shows that without cheques, many older people would be forced to either keep sizeable quantities of cash in their homes to pay their bills or to divulge their PIN to others in order to access their own money, in both cases making them more vulnerable to theft or financial abuse.