In 2009 the Council had decided to abolish the cheque by October 31, 2018, claiming that the payment method was in “long-term, terminal decline”. However earlier this year the Treasury Select Committee accused the Council of “forgetting about the millions of people who are less at ease with the latest technology and rely on cheques” and called on it to reconsider.
The decision had also come under fire from the financial secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban, who urged cheques not to be scrapped until “a suitable alternative is found”.
Payments Council chairman Richard North said that it decided not to get rid of the cheque following feedback from the public and that they would continue for as long as people need them.
“It’s in the DNA of the Payments Council to consult and listen to all those people who actually make payments and use cheques,” said North. “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.”
According to the Payments Council, 620 million payments were made by cheque in 2010. Several high street chains and supermarkets had already stopped accepting cheques in anticipation of the 2018 deadline.