March 11 2014.

The government has outlined detailed plans to modernise cheque payments and is seeking views from consumers, businesses and the banking industry on how best to implement changes to keep cheques alive within the UK.

In particular, the government is proposing legislating for “cheque imaging” which will speed up clearing times by enabling banks to clear a certified, digital image of a cheque instead of a traditional paper cheque.

Clearing times should drop to as little as two days and banks also will be able to offer the option of paying in cheques via smartphone or tablet. Further, banks may be able to offer later last times of deposit to customers if they no longer require couriers to collect paper cheques daily from branches.

Nearly £840bn of cheques were processed in 2012 – accounting for 10 per cent of all payments made by individuals. They are especially important to small businesses – sole traders and other micro businesses that continue to make over a fifth of their outgoing payments in cheques. CLICK HERE for further information.