From the strength of opinion here on Which? Conversation, we know that abolishing the cheque is unpopular, so it’s good that the enquiry’s been reopened. But we need to take it further and have an independent review.
Every time we mention cheques in our Conversations it shows just how popular they still are. It also shows us the strength of feeling that exists against the abolition of the cheque.
Well, it seems those folks at the Treasury Select Committee may read Which? Conversation as they have re-opened their enquiry into the abolition of the cheque.
The consultation so far…
At is stands, the decision to abolish the cheque will be made by the Payments Council. They have held lots of consultations and worked with a huge range of stakeholders, (including Which?) to:
- Analyse where cheques are still used.
- Assess what impact, if any, abolishing the cheque may have.
- Come up with alternative payment methods that could be introduced.
This has been a very collaborative process and we are happy to be a part of it. However, the decision on whether or not to abolish the cheque will still ultimately be made by the Payments Council.
Their decision-making process is largely dominated by industry. This can often mean that vital interests of consumers, such as Faster Payments, are not properly pushed forward. So I have to question whether the Payments Council can ensure that adequate cheque substitutes are in place if, and when, the cheque is phased-out.
Why we want an independent review
The final decision to abolish cheques should be taken out of the hands of the Payments Council and instead it should be made following an independent review. This should consider whether the proposed alternatives to be in place by 2018 are suitable, cost-effective, accessible and safe to use for consumers.
We’re not wedded to the cheque, and understand the arguments behind scrapping it. But it would be foolhardy to scrap the cheque unless suitable replacements are in place – and an independent review would be the best way to do this. What do you think?