This June sees the closure of the 42 year-old cheque guarantee scheme. Is this the banking industry’s way of weaning us off cheques in advance of their attempt to do away with cheques altogether?
I’ve been trying to remember when I last wrote a cheque and was asked for my cheque guarantee card, but I honestly can’t recall.
Since the main supermarkets and other big retailers stopped taking cheques, the main reason I dust off my chequebook is to pay for school lunches and trips, the cattery for my cat’s super-expensive holidays and the occasional tradesperson. And none of these ever asks me for my cheque guarantee card.
The dangers of dumping the guarantee card
So, sorry, cheque guarantee scheme – I don’t think I’ll miss you. But the danger, it seems to me, is that the withdrawal of the scheme will lead to even fewer retailers accepting cheques. And before we know it the banking industry will be using the further decline in cheque usage as a way of supporting their idea that cheques should be abolished.
When we asked the question ‘do you want to save the cheque?’ back in November, this was the issue of most concern in terms of the cheque guarantee card being phased out:
‘Since the cheque guarantee card will no longer be valid after the middle of the year we have to take the risk of bouncing cheques – what solution? Keep cheques as they are now,’ said C Steel.
Danny held a similar view:
‘Even this initial step [of abolishing the cheque guarantee card] is going to hit small businesses etc hard – no doubt we can expect more ‘bounced’ payments.’
Another nail in the coffin for cheques?
Although I’m ambivalent about the cheque guarantee scheme, I’m worried that its closure is another nail in the coffin for cheques. I’m not ready to see cheques disappear just yet, not until there are other good alternatives in place which are truly accessible to all.
Will you miss the cheque guarantee scheme or will you hardly notice that it’s gone?