The Cheque and Credit Clearing Company (C&CCC), has today (25 November 2008) marked the anniversary of the introduction of industry-wide changes to cheque clearing timescales. Known as 2-4-6, the changes set maximum timescales for the different stages of cheque clearing. For customers the changes mean that at the end of six working days after paying in a cheque, they can be certain that it won't bounce and that the money is safely cleared.
To coincide with its anniversary, the Cheque & Credit Clearing Company has launched a new online tool to help customers check clearing timescales - the 'cheque checker'. Customers can enter the date they pay in their cheque to work out the crucial stages within the cheque clearing process. These include: when they can expect to earn interest; withdraw funds; and finally when they can be sure that the money is theirs to keep. The checker is free to use and available at - www.chequechecker.co.uk.
Research* has shown that 48 per cent of adults still receive cheque payments, but very few understand the clearing process. Only eight per cent know when they can expect to earn interest on money paid in by cheque (no later than two days after paying it in) and just 23 per cent of cheque recipients can identify when they are able to withdraw money (no later than four days for a current account or six days for a savings account). Over three quarters of cheque recipients (77 per cent) thought that the time when they could be sure a cheque could not be returned unpaid was sooner than it actually is.
Angela Thomas, Managing Director of the Cheque & Credit Clearing Company, said:
"Although cheque use is in long term decline, and customers are only paying in cheques on average five times a year, there are still many people who still use them. However, our research shows that many aren't aware of the key timescales involved: particularly the crucial point that cheque funds aren't guaranteed until the end of six working days after you have paid it in.
"2-4-6 has added much needed clarity and certainty to the process, and our new online cheque checker aims to help out those customers who want to know what to expect when paying in a cheque."
Further advice on cheque clearing, including advice leaflets and animated graphics explaining the process for current and savings account users are available online at www.chequeandcredit.co.uk.