The UK Payments Council has scrapped its 2018 deadline to kill off the cheque, bowing down in the face of fierce opposition.
In a surprising u-turn, the Payments Council has reassured UK consumers that “cheques will continue for as long as customers need them”.
The move comes after the organisation made a second appearance before the government’s Treasury Select Committee in a bid to convince the cheque’s terminal decline in the UK.
“It’s in the DNA of the Payments Council to consult and listen to all those people who actually make payments and use cheques,” said Richard North, chairman of the Payments Council.
“Listening to over 600 stakeholder groups, working with the banks and following our appearance before the Treasury Select Committee, we have concluded we should reassure customers that the cheque is staying.
“Over the last two years we have learnt a great deal about what is important to our many stakeholders and we are really grateful to all of those groups and individuals who took the time to talk to us and help us reach this decision.”
There is no doubt many will welcome the news of cheque phasing cancellation but Jonathan Williams, director of strategic development for Experian Identity and Fraud, warns organisations must ensure they continue to invest in payment processes that are more efficient, reliable and secure than cheques.
“This decision has been made not because the alternatives to cheques are not cost-effective, but because it’s important to allow everyone to make payments in the way they choose,” said Williams.
The Payments Council has said it will continue to focus on security, efficiency and encouraging innovation in all types of payments to ensure customers have options best suited to the 21st century.