Sat 6th Jul 2013
The End of Cheques!? How Will This Affect Your Business?
The Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and the Payments Council met with nearly 50 local businesses in Belfast on 6 April 2011 to consult them on the 2018 target date set to replace cheques. Many local businesses still make and receive cheque payments, and so the aim of the workshop was to help support local firms: both to advise them on existing alternatives and to explain what will be happening over the next few years.
- 65% of UK businesses have written at least one cheque in the past month
- In Northern Ireland this figure is higher at 87%
- On average, businesses write 10 cheques per month (14 in Northern Ireland)
- Cheques are more important to small businesses – higher % of expenditure
Ann McGregor, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce said “Northern Ireland has significantly more businesses that rely on cheques than the rest of the UK. The attendance of almost 50 members at today’s event shows just how keen businesses are to find out more about what is happening to cheques and what their alternatives are likely to be. We are very pleased to be able to work with the Payments Council to help ensure the needs of businesses are taken into account.”
The Payments Council has set a target date of 2018 to close the UK’s central cheque processing system. Cheque use has been declining since 1990 and, in the past five years, this has gathered pace. By actively managing this ongoing decline the Payments Council is aiming to prevent consumers and businesses being disadvantaged by any further fall in cheque acceptability or availability. However, a decision to go ahead with 2018 will only be taken in 2016 if acceptable cheque alternatives are in place, and are actually being used. As part of this, the Payments Council is committed to continuing its consultation with consumers and businesses to ensure their needs are taken on board when developing alternatives over the next six years.
Gary Hocking, Acting Chief Executive of the Payments Council, said “About half of all cheques in Northern Ireland are used by businesses and so we are delighted that the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce is helping us reach out to local businesses. We are well aware of how important it is that their needs are heard and understood. Cheque alternatives for small businesses depend on the type of payment they want to make. In many situations different options already exist, in others they may need adapting, or making more widely available. Existing alternatives include debit cards, internet and phone banking payments. For some businesses using cheques is a matter of habit and we want to make sure that these businesses are aware of the more efficient and secure alternatives that are already available.”
A copy of Chris Bryson’s presentation can be downloaded below: