On 8 September 2014, the the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced details of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, which was introduced to Parliament on 25 June 2014. The Bill takes forward a number of Government commitments on small businesses, and contains two provisions that relate to payment systems. Clause 11 makes provision for “cheque imaging”, which allows for cheques to be paid electronically, through presenting an electronic image in place of the cheque itself. Clause 12 gives the PSR the ability to use its powers to enable firms to gain access to payment systems that are designated under the EU Settlement Finality Directive.

What this means for you

The Bill is in the early stages of parliamentary scrutiny and is expected to receive Royal Assent early in 2015. Many other countries including the United States, China, India, France and a number of other European countries already operate a cheque imaging process. The use of cheque imaging in the UK should enable more open access to the arrangements for processing cheques and a faster and better service for users.