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08/05/17 Are cheques being resurrected?

Do you still have a dusty old cheque book lurking around in a drawer somewhere? Maybe it’s gathering dust with that paying in book you last used in 1997.

It’s easy to think that cheques are things of the past – but last year 477 million were issued in the UK.

It’s just been announced that banks are finally agreeing on a new clearing system that should allow cheques to clear in one day instead of the current six. So to celebrate all things cheque related, here’s a few of my favourite facts:

  • Cheques are old: The rules about cheques date back to 1882 and the basic principles have stayed more or less the same.

  • In principle, you could write a cheque on anything, as long as you included the details mentioned in the Bills of Exchange Act. Many people swear blind that a man once wrote a cheque on a cow but I’m afraid it’s an urban myth - though plenty of people have tried to use a cow-cheque as a publicity stunt over the years. Fraud rules now mean standard cheques must be used so your bank won’t be in the moo-d if you bring a cow in.

  • Cheques didn’t use to have expiry dates, leading to some tricky situations where people tried to cash old ones years later. Most now come with a 6-month expiry date. 

  • Fraudsters love cheques. By far the most widespread scams involve exploiting the clearing cycle to get sellers to release goods in exchange for stolen or forged banker’s drafts and cheques. Never release goods paid for by cheque until your bank confirms that the payment has cleared.

If you want to know more about the ways you can make payments - and your rights as well as raise a financial complaint, visit our financial page.

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