Payments by cheques will be phased out by October 31, 2018, according to the board of UK Payments Council.  After 18 months of consultation and research by the Council, it was determined that there would be “no scenario” for using cheques by this date.

The Council described the payment method as being in “terminal decline” and announced that it will be looking for easy-to-use alternatives which will be understood by everybody.

Chief executive of the Payments Council Paul Smee said that cheques won’t disappear overnight.

“Customers aren’t likely to see any immediate change as the target date is still a long way off,” he said. “This announcement marks the start of extensive work that we need to do to ensure that everyone has a viable alternative, should the cheque clearing close. We aim to be very transparent and we will continue to consult fully with all interested parties.”

There are many more efficient ways of making payments than by paper in the 21st century, and the time is ripe for the economy as a whole to reap the benefits of its replacement.”

Smee added that there is still some work to be done before cheques are abolished completely.

“We have already done a significant amount of work, research and consultation which has convinced us that 2018 is achievable,” he said. “But the real challenge lies ahead if we are going to be comfortable to wave good-bye to the cheque, which undeniably occupies a unique place in British culture. The payments industry will have to react positively and take the lead on delivering solutions which suit all their customers.”