Checking cheques will no longer require you to check them by eye
While I can’t remember the last time I ever used a cheque to pay for something, probably ten or so years ago now, it’s nice to know they still exist. And, in a bid to make them more relevant, the UK Treasury has announced that it plans to modernise cheque payments in Britain.
Yes, that’s right, modernising the cheque.
After having consulted with UK consumers, business, charities, and the banking industry, the UK treasury has said it plans to introduce legislation for digital cheque imaging. This means that these papery payment slips can now be cleared via a scan of a digital images instead of checking the a paper version – as banks currently have to do. This means that processing cheques will become faster, allowing bank customers to pay cheques in using a smartphone or tablet. In fact, cheque clearing times will be as quick as two days, the UK Treasury claims.
Surprisingly, cheques still play a largely integral part of the UK payments landscape. In 2012 £840 billion ($1.4 trillion) worth of cheques were processed in the UK, according to the UK Treasury. Charities often receive them as part of charitable donations, with nearly a third of smaller UK charities making more than 75 per cent of their income via cheque.
Barclays did have plans to roll out a digital cheque imaging product in 2014, testing it with a range of customers later in the year. Perhaps the UK Treasury’s latest update is in response to that pilot going ahead soon?
Should cheques really still be encouraged as a method of payment over, say, a bank transfer or PayPal transaction?
Do you think that digital imaging will open up a hotbed of problems?
Let us know by leaving a comment below.
[Image: CarbonNYC - Flickr]