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Wait and see - or drive UK cheque clearing into the future?

As most people in the UK payments space are either on the beach, or wish they were, just who is going to grab the image clearing initiative when the holidays are over?

Following HM Treasury's summary confirmation of the responses to the consultation process - an exercise in telling everyone what you have told them, telling them again, and then telling them once more to be sure - the industry is waiting for the legislative change that will enable truncation, and the process and technology upgrade that will deliver the benefits of speedier cheque clearing.

The British banking industry being what it is, we can expect multiple models to be prepared, trialed, much heralded and then 'refined' before a steady state emerges that will undoubtedly deliver the efficient and obviously preferable cheque clearing model we could, and should have had many years ago. Irrevocable funds clearance in a maximum of 48 hours (or two working days - in the UK the definition of 48 hours may be unclear for some time to come) is a major step forward that is simple and deliverable by all payment institutions.

Once in place, and I think that 2016 is a safe bet, we will wonder how we could have waited, if even we had understood it, for the 2-4-6 regime to deliver funds availability, let alone certainty of fate.  The old axiom - failure is an orphan, success has may fathers - will see a long queue of participants claiming respnsibilty for this genuine piece of progress.









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