That long standing method of payment, the cheque book due to be consigned to the history books in 2018, is here to stay. At least for now.

The Payments Council has now decided that cheques will remain as one option for paying for as long as people need them.

This announcement will come as a relief for many people who do still rely on them, the elderly are a good example.

The Payments Council say this U-turn was brought about after it had listened to the concerns of stakeholder groups, MPs and the public.

Richard North, the Chairman of the Payments Council said ‘It's in the DNA of the Payments Council to consult and listen to all those people who actually make payments and use cheques. Listening to over 600 stakeholder groups, working with the banks and following our appearance before the Treasury Select Committee, we have concluded we should reassure customers that the cheque is staying.’ He went on to add ‘We will use what we’ve learnt to keep improving existing systems, as well as introducing innovation, so that customers benefit from 21st century ways to pay. Innovation must be at the heart of what we do.’

But as cheque guarantee cards were scrapped on 30th June 2011 the cheque itself will be a more limited form of payment than it was.

Age UK have welcomed the move saying ‘We are delighted that the Payments Council has listened to the many people who said how difficult the loss of cheques would be for them. This is a vital first step that will help many older people.

It will of course also give the time honoured welcome breathing space to many who can keep on claiming that ‘the cheque’s in the post’.

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