We reported in Payment Matters: No. 6 on a Government press release published in December 2013, confirming the Government’s new proposals on cheque imaging and that the Government would be consulting this year on introducing the proposed legislation.

On 6 March 2014, the Government published the resultant consultation paper setting out its proposals to introduce legislation to allow for the introduction of cheque imaging.  Cheque imaging will speed up cheque clearing times and give customers greater convenience and choice in how they deposit cheques. The reforms will enable banks to clear a certified, digital image of a cheque in lieu of a traditional paper cheque.

What this means for you

The changes should not only reduce the time it takes for a cheque to clear (to as little as two days), it should also increase the choice of ways to pay for consumers. While customers will continue to be able to deposit cheques at branches, cash machines, Post Offices or by post and still benefit from a faster clearing cycle, banks will also be able to offer the option of paying in cheques via smartphones. The Government sought views from stakeholders on how best to implement changes that, in its view, will boost the status of the cheque again. The deadline for responses to the consultation paper was 7 April 2014.