Majority of older consumers still prefer to use cheques

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The Independent Online

Nearly three-quarters of people aged over 65 regularly use cheques, a new report from Age UK has found.

The report also found that many developments in personal banking such as ATMs, reduction in bank branches and increase in internet banking are not catching on with many older consumers. Nearly one in five of those over 65 often use other people to draw cash out for them, while only 43 per cent said that using a cash machine in the street was their preferred method of drawing cash.

However, it is in the area of cheques that AGE UK expressed the most concern. UK banks plan to phase out cheques by 2018, while from 30 June the cheque guarantee system will be brought to an end. In essence, this means that any cheque cashed in the UK after this date will not be guaranteed by the bank issuing the cheque.

Michelle Mitchell, charity director at Age UK, said, "Cheques are still a popular form of payment. While we welcome the Government's comments during the Treasury Select Committee on cheques last week, that it may 'intervene' to protect vulnerable consumers and businesses if no alternative to cheques was put in place before they were withdrawn, it needs to go further. We are calling on the Government to recognise payment systems as an essential utility like electricity or water, so that everybody has a safe, accessible and affordable way to pay."

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