Britain bounces checks after 300 years
2009 12 17

By Elizabeth Fullerton | Reuters.com


After more than three centuries, the humble check is set to become a historic relic after British banks voted to phase it out in favor of more modern payment methods.

The board of the UK Payments Council, the body for setting payment strategy in Britain, agreed on Wednesday to set a target date of October 31, 2018 for winding up the check clearing system. The board is largely made up of Britain's leading banks.

"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," Paul Smee, the council chief executive, said in a statement.

The use of checks has fallen drastically in the past 10 years as more consumers transfer money electronically, by direct debit or with debit and credit cards. Last year, around 3.8 million checks were written every day in Britain, compared to a peak of 10.9 million in 1990, the council said.

It costs about one pound to process every check.

"The next generation probably won't even have a checkbook," said Addy Frederick, a spokeswoman at the payments council.

But while many UK supermarkets, high street retailers and petrol stations have stopped accepting checks, they are still a popular form of payment among elderly people, many of whom find the idea of using automated cash machines intimidating.

"Chip and pin is problematic for many older and housebound people and we know 6.4 million over 65s have never used the internet," said Vicky Smith, a spokeswoman for the charity Age Concern.

"Without checks, we are very concerned people will be forced to keep large amounts of cash in their home, leaving them vulnerable to theft and financial abuse."

Harriet Harman, deputy leader of the ruling Labour Party, said on Wednesday the authorities must take care not to discriminate against the elderly in making their decision.

"We need to look to the future but make sure that older people don't suffer as a result," she told parliament.

The council said checks would be phased out gradually, making sure consumers had access to user-friendly alternatives and that the needs of elderly and vulnerable groups were met. A review will take place in 2016 before checks are finally abolished.

The Federation of Small Businesses said it was disappointed by the decision. "It's something that's going to impact heavily on small businesses and their customers," said spokeswoman Sophie Kummer.

Checks have all but disappeared in high-tech countries like Sweden and Norway and their use is under review in Ireland, South Africa and Australia, Frederick at the council said.

The oldest surviving check in Britain was written in 1659, according to the council and made out for 400 pounds (equivalent to around 42,000 pounds today). It was signed by Nicholas Vanacker, made payable to a Mr Delboe and drawn on Messrs Morris and Clayton, scriveners and bankers of the City of London.

In those days, checks would have been exchanged informally in coffee houses. It was not until 1833 that the first clearing house was built in London to exchange checks.

Article from: Reuters.com


RedIce Radio:
Nick Rosen - Going Off-Grid, How to Escape the Big Brother System

Marta Andreasen MEP - Brussels laid Bare, Financial Fraud within the European Union

Catherine Austine Fitts - Swine Flu, Vaccination & The Economy

Ellen Brown - The Web of Debt & The Manufactured Financial Crash

Ellen Brown - Bank for International Settlements, Global Tax & The Basel Accords (Subscription)

David Icke - The Lisbon Treaty & The Corrupt European Union

A.j. Bruno - Living Outside the New World Order Grid

John Harris - Illusion, Common and Commercial Law & the Ego

Niki Raapana - Communitarian Ideology & "Big Mother"



Related Articles
The Steady Rise of Islamic Finance - Gambling and Interest (Usury) Free Banking
Baron David de Rothschild sees a New World Order in global banking governance
Congressional Record, 1908: Monopoly Men Take Over Banking
The Illuminati and the House of Rothschild
The "Ugly" Cause of World War Two


Latest News from our Front Page

Former Chief Security Officer for NewsCorp: N. Koreans Not Behind Sony Hack, Interview Leak
2014-12-20 2:17
Hemanshu Nigam, a former federal prosecutor and former chief security officer for NewsCorp/Fox studios, says North Korea isn’t behind the Sony Hack. Nigam gave several bullet points for why the hack was likely an inside job. Attack code borrowed from a previous attack on Seoul, that’s why it’s in Korean. Private hackers typically borrow malicious code from other hackers.Nations state attacks follow ...
Sony Fires Back at Obama: Actually We Did Call the White House – Several Times
2014-12-20 2:13
Sony fired back at Obama after the press conference saying they had several conversations with the Obama White House before and after the movie was canceled. Via The Hollywood Reporter: After President Obama criticized Sony for its decision to cancel The Interview's release after theater chains decided not to show the film, the studio has issued a statement elaborating on the move. “The ...
The Bankster International
2014-12-20 1:55
Geopolitical analysis, the art of explaining power relationships through the prism of impersonal geography, can be a helpful tool for observers of the Great Game – but it also has its limitations. A case in point is the renewed US-Russia confrontation. Think tanks and policy insiders easily sell the narrative that from the dark days of the Cold War to ...
Another banker dies under suspicious circumstances
2014-12-20 1:09
52-year-old Belgian Geert Tack – a private banker for ING who managed portfolios for wealthy individuals – was described as ‘impeccable’, ‘sporty’, ‘cared-for’, and ‘successful’ and so as Vermist reports, after disappearing a month ago, the appearance of his body off the coast of Ostend is surrounded by riddles… Impeccable. Sporty. Cared for. Successful. Just some qualifications that are attributed to ...
NATO increases military presence on Russia’s borders
2014-12-20 1:14
The Pentagon has confirmed the military buildup along Russia’s borders to ensure long-term “peace and stability” in the region. Earlier Moscow accused NATO of a sharp increase in air activity and intelligence flights in the border zone. Replying to RIA Novosti’s query on the increased number of NATO flights around Russia’s borders, a Pentagon representative told the news agency that the military ...
More News »