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Cheques are set to take the leap into the digital age through plans to allow cheques to be paid in via a photo sent from a smartphone. Although cheques are still being used by many, with around £840 billion worth of cheques being cashed in 2012, an update into how we pay in our cheques might give this method of payment a boost!
With online banking now being many people’s preferred banking method it seems right that we should be able to cash cheques using technology too. The Government are launching a consultation into this idea which would mean that cheques could be paid in through sending a photo of the front, and the back, of the cheque to the bank where the images will be scanned and verified by computer. Photos will not be stored on devices meaning that this method will be secure even if a smartphone is lost or stolen.
This new method would also mean that cheques would clear within two working days rather than the five or six that it takes currently. How convenient!
It is hoped that this change will promote the continued use of cheques into the future. It had been suggested that cheques would be abolished in 2018 but due to public opposition this was retracted.
In 2012 cheques made up 10% of payments made by individuals and 25% of payments made by businesses. It is expected that giving individuals the choice to cash their cheques via their smartphones will make cheque payments more popular. People will still be able to cash their cheques in banks or via post too so there will still be a traditional option available.
The UK won’t be the first to use this method of paying in cheques. The USA started to use similar technology 9 years ago as a more secure method of transporting cheques across the country.
Barclays will be the first bank to trial this and will start their pilot scheme in April 2014. If this is successful they hope to be able to offer this service to all of their customers by the end of the year.
By Sasha Davison
27th December 2013
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