The Payments Council will meet today to decide if cheques should be phased out over the next eight years. The Forum of Private Business (FPB) have declared that they are not opposed to this move in principle but they do understand why many small business owners could have concerns. The FPB have stated that they feel the Payments Council should only agree to take this step if they can ensure that it will result in increased payment innovation from the banking institutions. If cheques will no longer exist, there needs to be at least one appropriate alternative which should be driven by customer needs and not by which process is best suited to the banks.

Matthew Goodman, FPB policy representative commented: “Of course, lots of people have reservations about the idea of ending cheque payment. It’s a familiar and centuries-old system which is still used by countless small businesses for ‘arm’s length’ payments.

He continued: “However, we shouldn’t let sentimentality dominate the debate. Cheques are generally the most expensive payment method for businesses to process and those costs are only set to rise as fewer and fewer people use them. As a result, our view is that if the decision is made to gradually phase out cheques over eight years, then we aren’t opposed to it in principle. However, the Payments Council needs to be confident that the decision will lead to practical and convenient alternatives being put in place. If they set this roadmap, the onus will be on the banks to come up with solutions for the many small business who still use cheques.”

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