Julian Knight: After 350 years, Bankers at last get something right – scrapping cheques - Spend & Save - Money - The Independent

Julian Knight: After 350 years, Bankers at last get something right – scrapping cheques

How dare they? Those damned bankers, not content with getting the legal seal of approval on sky-high current account charges, paying themselves bonuses for doing jobs they wouldn't even have if it weren't for the taxpayer, they now, horror of horrors, want to get rid of the good, old, reliable cheque.

It's been around for 350 years, and apparently grannies like to send cheques through the post to their grandkids at Christmas. Imagine disappointing little Johnny as he will no longer be able to tear open that envelope to see a cheque for £10 fall out. What's worse, they're giving us a mere nine years' notice of the end of cheques. What are we meant to do? Pay by card, direct debit or even use those idiot-proof websites the banks have spent millions building for their customers?

In truth, I'm not unhappy to see cheques given a death sentence. Most retailers don't take them and they are a type of payment almost designed for fraud and theft (Plenty of grannies' cheques to Johnny never make it.) What's more, they're expensive to process and a complete hassle to cash.

The UK Payments Council, which has taken the decision to dispense with cheques, has attracted criticism for being a cabal of bankers – 12 of the 16 board members are from the big banks. But, I ask, who would you expect to be making this decision – the Dalai Lama? And as for those groups saying that people won't adjust, well, they have nine years to get used to it. Many opponents of the ditching of cheques are concerned about the effects on elderly people. OK, there are worries, but alternative payment methods can be found or existing ones made simpler. The view that millions of elderly people – given nine years' notice – won't be able to cope is patronising

Boil it down, though, and much of the criticism is simply about the fact that getting rid of cheques will make life easier and less expensive for the banks. Dare I suggest that this isn't always a bad thing that if they save £1.4bn a year by getting rid of cheques it could benefit consumers through lower costs? (The market does sometimes work, even in banking.) And even if it gets swallowed in profit, it may go to pay back the Government or help boost dividends on shares which in turn helps our pensions which – despite the financial crisis – are still heavily invested in banks.

Credit protection

As far as big-name firms going bust, this Christmas feels no different from last. OK, we haven't quite had the headlines that we saw with the demise of Woolworths and Zavvi, but we've still had Borders, Thresher, Globespan and even Coventry airport. For consumers, all this is a timely reminder that when making big purchases – over £100 – you should use a credit card. Under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, the card company is jointly liable, so if the retailer or airline goes bust, you can go to the card company to get your money back. It's one of the most useful protections that there is. The card issuers would love to kill it off but they can't, so make use of it and stay protected when splashing the cash this yuletide and in the January sales.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Sales Executive

    £20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...

    Payroll & Accounts Assistant

    £20 - 24k + Benefits: Guru Careers: This is a great opportunity for an enthusi...

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

    £280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Senior BA - Insurance **URGENT**

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week