The UK Payments Council has scrapped its 2018
deadline to kill off the cheque, bowing down in the face of fierce

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

“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.”

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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

“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.