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As new ways to pay take over it could be cheque-out time

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04/05/2007

People in the UK still like to pay for their goods and services by cheque, despite moves by some retailers to ban them, according to consumer group Which?

Nearly 60% of people said that they found paying by cheque “very useful”, although 72% conceded that they used a lot less cheques than they did five years ago. However, declining levels of cheque usage could be explained by the decision taken by some retailers to stop taking them.

Shell stopped accepting cheques at its 586 forecourts in 2005, and supermarket groups Tesco and Asda are running pilot schemes in certain stores to test consumers’ reaction to a ban. Boots has already banned them.

The number of cheques written each day halved between 1990 and 2005, according to figures from the banking industry. More people are using cards than ever before to pay for retail purchases and services.

However, a spokesperson for the Federation of Small Businesses said: “A large proportion of our members and small businesses in general still deal in cheques. They shouldn’t be penalised for that and should be able to carry on.”

Independent garage owner Mike Preston said: “We still take a few cheques each week but they seem to be dying out as time goes on. I won’t ban them from my business, although I think we’ll soon get to the point where they will fizzle out naturally.”

 

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