UK bank u-turn sees cheques saved
12 July 2011 | 10488 views | 3
Britain's banks have scrapped plans to get rid of cheques by 2018, backing down in the face of strong opposition from consumer groups, charities and politicians.
In late 2009 members of the Payments Council voted to set a provisional target of 2018 for the abolition of cheques - which have seen declining popularity in recent years - with a review scheduled for 2016.
However, the decision provoked widespread concern and in April parliament's Treasury select committee reopened its probe into the plans, claiming it had been "inundated with letters".
The council has now cancelled its plans, promising that "cheques will continue for as long as customers need them".
Richard North, chairman, Payments Council, says: "It's in the DNA of the Payments Council to consult and listen to all those people who actually make payments and use cheques. Listening to over 600 stakeholder groups, working with the banks and following our appearance before the Treasury Select Committee, we have concluded we should reassure customers that the cheque is staying."
North adds: "We will use what we've learnt to keep improving existing systems, as well as introducing innovation, so that customers benefit from 21st century ways to pay. Innovation must be at the heart of what we do."
The Cheque Guarantee Card Scheme that was killed off last month will not be revived.