Business

Payment by cheque: it's not all over yet

cheque being written

More than 500m cheques were written in 2015, confounding expectations that the payment method is disappearing.

However, Payments UK, which represents the industry, said that still represented a 13% decline on the previous year.

It said the figures showed that cheques are still valued as a means of payment.

Cheques had been due to be phased out by 2018, until MPs forced a change of heart by the industry.

Banks have promised to keep processing them for as long as necessary.

Some banks, such as Barclays, have also introduced "cheque imaging", allowing consumers to take a photograph of a cheque and send it to the bank via their smartphone.

Cash still king

Use of cheques peaked in 1990, when there were more than 4bn transactions a year.

Last year 546m cheques were written, an average of about 10 cheques per adult per year.

The report for Payments UK said that showed that they are "still valued as a convenient and secure method of payment by those who choose to use them".

Use of cheques is higher in the 65 and over age group. They are also still popular as a way of paying tradespeople and charities, as well as for family gifts.

The research also suggested that the use of debit cards would overtake cash payments by 2021.

However, cash was still the most popular means of paying in 2015.

Figures published last week showed that monthly spending on contactless cards hit £1.5bn for the first time in March.

Consumers over the age of 60 are the fastest-growing group using the cards, according to Barclaycard.

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