Future of cheques report welcomed by sectorToby Bakare
The Charity Finance Directors Group (CFDG) has welcomed a Treasury Committee report on the future of cheques which heavily criticised the Payments Council for its plans to abandon use of the payment tool.
Within the report, Future of Cheques, the committee accused the Payments Council of poorly communicating the future of cheques to their customers and for wrongly assuming that the ending of the use of cheques was a "foregone conclusion".
It recommended that the current system should remain in place, at least until a suitable alternative to cheques could be found. The committee also recommended that the Payments Council, which rules on the future of cheques, should look at reintroducing cheque guarantee cards.
This has been a subject the voluntary sector has been paying close attention to as, despite a recent surge in online donations, many supporters still use cheques. Among the feedback provided by charities, was a testimony from the CFDG to the Treasury Committee emphasising that donating through cheques was "ingrained in the UK's giving culture".
Age UK recently added its voice to the campaign when it wrote to the UK's major banks earlier this month asking for reassurances that the cheque system would not be allowed to "wither away".
The Treasury Select Committee also seemed wary of the threat of banks getting rid of cheques surreptitiously. The report urged the Payment Council not to allow banks to abandon cheques by stealth, Andrew Tyrie, committee chair said: "Cheques have been saved, for the moment, but we need to remain vigilant. The incentives for the industry to get rid of cheques have not gone away."
The CFDG expressed its support for the Treasury Committee's comments, with Jane Tully, head of policy, saying: "It is vital that the commitment to retain cheques for as long as they are needed is meaningful. Individual banks should not marginalise cheques by making them too expensive to use or difficult to obtain - it is good the Committee will continue to scrutinise this."