The demise of the cheque? - Commons Library Standard Note

Published 13 July 2011 | Standard notes SN05318

Amended 07 January 2014

Authors: Tim Edmonds

Topic: Financial services

Cheques are an old and familiar form of payment, although their usage has dramatically declined in recent years. This note sets out the decision of the Payments Council (who set the strategy for UK payment systems) to set a date of 31 October 2018 to end universal cheque clearing, and so effectively end cheque-usage in the UK; the reaction to that decision and the subsequent reversal of it. On 12 July 2011, however, having received considerable evidence of the enduring popularity of cheques with some groups the Payments Council announced that it was ending its search for a replacement for cheques and therefore they would continue to be part for the payments system for the foreseeable future.

In January 2014 the government announced consideration of the idea of using smartphones camera functions to play a key role in cheque clearing.

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