/ Money

Why’s it so hard to get hold of a chequebook?

Chequebook and bank card

I remember a time not so long ago when my bank sent me a new chequebook on a semi-regular basis. Does your bank still send you chequebooks?

When the cheque was saved last year there was much rejoicing from both consumers and businesses. But new research from Which? Money has found that banks are making it more difficult for people to get hold of a chequebook.

When we called 18 banks and building societies, just two (Nationwide and the Co-operative Bank) said that they send out a chequebook automatically to their standard account customers.

All the others say you have to request one, apart from Coventry Building Society which doesn’t offer a chequebook. It says you can request a cheque over the phone or in branch whenever you need one.

I’m going to throw it out there; I personally don’t think this is such a bad thing.

Do you like cheques, mate?

I found the steady stream of chequebooks dropping on my doormat a little annoying, especially as I don’t tend to make much use of them. I thought it a waste of money, postage and packaging.

However, I am someone who prefers to do the majority of my banking online and I realise that my view is unlikely to be shared by all, especially those who told us on Which? convo that you write cheques on a regular basis, either for personal payments or for business.

While I might agree with the principle behind the banks’ move, I think they are going about it in the wrong way.

By simply putting a stop to chequebooks being sent out automatically to all customers seems short-sighted, especially when confidence in the banks is at an all-time low.

Writing off the cheque

Many people don’t want to have to make regular journeys to their local branch or pick up the phone just to order a chequebook, so why don’t the banks just ask us whether we want to keep receiving them automatically?

A cynic (me!) might suggest that the decision not to send chequebooks out is a way of causing cheque usage to decline at an even more rapid rate than it currently is. And by discouraging the practice it will help add weight to industry calls to write off cheques once and for all.

Do you think banks are right to stop sending out chequebooks automatically, or are you happy to just receive a chequebook at your request?

Organised says:
29 October 2012

Could Which? please list the 18 banks and building societies they approached?

The 18 banks and building societies we contacted are as follows:

Bank of Scotland
Clydesale Bank
Coventry BS
First Direct
Lloyds TSB
Metro Bank
Nationwide BS
Norwich & Peterborough BS
Royal Bank of Scotland
The Co-operative Bank
Yorkshire Bank

Organised says:
2 November 2012

Thank you, Patrick, this is interesting..

From the introduction to this discussion it would seem that Barclays told you they don’t send out chequebooks automatically. I bank with Barclays and they send me out a new chequebook automatically when I am about two thirds the way through my current chequebook, i.e. when I have about 10 cheques left. I have what I assume is a standard account, i.e. I don’t pay for it.

bartsimson says:
2 February 2013

i use cards but i like to send cheques occasionally for birthdays as some of my family don’t live nearby
clydesdale bank used to send out cheque books automatically before the old book was finished, but this time i had to order one 10 days ago and i still haven’t received it.i send cheques to charities,pop them in the post, and having had some work done on my house windows ,doors and roof,it was easier to pay by cheque. so i say keep the cheques if anyone doesn’t want to use them…then they can request that the bank stop sending them.

As this is relevant to some of the views on electronic banking.

“Some Marks and Spencer customers have told the BBC of cases where the chain’s contactless payment terminals have taken money from cards other than the ones intended for payment.

Card are supposed to be within about 4cm of the front of the contactless terminal to work.

But some customers say payments have been taken from cards while in purses and wallets at much greater distances.

M&S said its systems had been extensively tested and were robust.

Marks and Spencer recently rolled out the contactless payments system to 644 UK stores. “


Looks like many many mobile phones are insecure with more to come on the cracking of cardlets with the implications for NFC and other payment methods. The assumption that this type of hack is not already being used cannot logically be made.

margaret monaghan says:
7 March 2014

why have i not received a new chequebook this used to be done automatically,look forward to receiving same m monaghan(mrs)

MJ says:
9 May 2014

Whats wrong with being old fashioned, leave cheque books alone, online is not secure or safe nor ever will be…it is just the new cool THING…nuts NEW/LATEST DOES NOT mean we have to like it…

Mitch says:
16 November 2014

I have a Co op personal account with cheque book but no cards. When I last asked I was told they only issue new cards on request when old one has expired. Other banks issue them automatically I refuse to request one as I know when I go to branch it makes there life difficult. I just use cash instead

d thomas says:
6 May 2015

HSBC have cut the recording pages in my cheque book from 10 to 2. However, I need mor space to record my current balance, not less space, especially the more I use a debit card. HSBC say I can check my balance on the internet, but I don`t go onto the internet every day, and the internet does not show outpayments in the pipeline – I have 10 payments in the pipeline at the moment, some cheques, some direct debits and some debit card payments to travel companies, who take deposits and final payments on fixed future dates. I need more lines in my cheque book to record my balance. Recording your balance is good personal accounting to avoid debt.

I don’t know if all banks do them these days, but you could try asking for a paying in book.

Paying-in books are still available. I use mine far more than a cheque book these days.

I have a Select Account with NatWest and this account comes with a Cheque Book as standard and there is a simply procedure in online banking where you can re-order a new Cheque Book when you need one, this is one of the few banks that still have this facility and this is why i would recommend it.

Therese McGlynn says:
7 March 2016

I need a new cheque book desperately!!!!!!!

Dave says:
14 January 2018

As a business we are charged a percentage for card payment transactions. This cost is passed on to our customers. Banks are making Billions in card transactions and that money comes from the customer. That is why they want cheques gone. Wake Up people. The banks are robbing you.

Derek Hughes says:
22 March 2018

I like a cheque book and do not wish to you use on line banking . I am with Nat West who have recently closed my 2 nearest branches and do not automatically send out cheque books . Looked up how to get a new one and the only thing it comes back with is log on to on line banking 🙁 Nat West not doing it for me .

I suggest you ring NatWest: 03457 888 444 I expect that they will encourage you to sign up for their telephone banking service, but that will make it easier next time you need to make contact.

Fiona Wild says:
16 May 2020

I need a new chequebook and can’t visit the bank as I’m self-isolating during lockdown and any way, my branch has recently closed for good. I have written to First Direct a month ago but they haven’t responded. I dislike online banking because it’s too complicated and they won’t let my husband help me with the computer because they assume I’m being financially coerced. I can’t even ring them because I’ve lost all the necessary passwords. What do I do?

Phone the bank- I had to do that recently as one local trader only takes cash or cheques

David Ralphs says:
22 March 2021

Banks are no longer customer friendly and give little thought to them or their preferences. Their only interest is cutting overheads and branches in order to make more profit.

Mr Ian Whitworth says:
10 January 2022

Without a cheque book how do you pay for a driving license they only accept Cheque or postal order ?

This Conversation started in 2012. I don’t think the situation has changed much since then and current account providers will issue cheque books or counter cheques either automatically or on request according to the terms for the particular account. I use a number of cheques every year, not so many as was the case years ago, but I have never had to order a fresh book as one arrives before the last cheque in a book is cleared. If I did need to order a cheque book I can do it on line, by letter, by telephone, or by calling in at a branch.

You can apply for a driving licence at a post office which will accept payment in cash, cheque or credit/debit card. There is a £4.50 charge for checking the application and verifying the identity documents.

You can apply on-line to the DVLA with a credit/debit card but then have to post the required identity documentation.