The UK government is pushing ahead with legislation that will see Brits able to pay in cheques remotely by taking photographs with their phones.
The small business, enterprise and employment bill will see the law tweaked so that banks and building societies will be able process cheque images -rather than the physical paper - for the first time. The Treasury says the new rules should cut cheque processing times from six to two days.
The move means that banks will be able to offer their customers the option of paying in cheques by taking photos with their smartphones or tablets.
Although the use of cheques has been steadily falling over the last few years, they are still a crucial part of the British payments landscape, particularly for small businesses. Sole traders and other micro businesses continue to make over a fifth of their outgoing payments in cheques, says the government.
The technology has proved popular in the US. According to data compiled by Celent, some 20 million consumers used mobile remote deposit capture last year compared with 10.9 million in 2012. The analyst house predicts the mobile user base will increase to 33 million this year, 47 million in 2015, and 61 million by 2016.
Barclays, the first UK bank to pilot cheque imaging, has welcomed the news. Steven Roberts, director for transformation, says: "This is an opportunity to move cheques into the 21st century, to reduce costs and make banking easier and more convenient for customers."