July 16 2014.

The Cheque and Credit Clearing Company (C&CCC) is currently looking at introducing a new way of clearing cheques. Called cheque imaging, it will enable cheques to be processed at the click of a button and allow money from cheques paid in to be available for withdrawal far quicker than the current timeframe.

Cheque imaging - where images of cheques are collected and then transferred with files of cheque codeline data between banks at little more than the touch of a button – is already in operation in the USA, France and many other European countries. In order that the UK can introduce a cheque imaging process there needs to be a change to the law.

Currently cheques are physically transported from bank branches to clearing centres where the details are read and confirmed. Electronic files are transmitted to the other banks and the actual cheques are exchanged as well. A new law will allow banks to scan cheques and send the images electronically with the data files.

The C&CCC is working closely with the Government on the legislative changes and with the banking industry to agree the necessary changes to the infrastructure. Once the project starts it should be possible to introduce cheque imaging in three years.

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