Payment method not ready to cheque out yet

Reports of the demise of the chequebook could be premature, according to new figures.

The Payments Council announced last year it plans to phase out cheques by 2018, but three in four Britons have written a cheque during the last year, while half of people have used it as a payment method in the past month.

Research from consumer body Which? shows that 41% of people have written a cheque to pay a tradesman or supplier, while 23% sent one to a friend or relative, and 14% used a cheque to cover the cost of school dinners or outings.

The Payments Council moved to withdraw chequebooks following a decline in usage, but it has promised consumers will not be left "high and dry". It is working with charities, consumer groups and small businesses to ensure viable alternatives are in place, possibly including some form of paper-based payment system.

The Which? research found that once cheques were phased out, people said they would feel most comfortable using cash, internet banking or direct debits as alternatives.

But consumers feel less confident about using newer payment methods, such as contactless payment cards and mobile phone banking

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