We're too busy to pay by cheque, say Brits

Our busy lifestyles are why the majority of Brits are tearing up their cheque books, hints new research sounding the death knell for the most traditional payment method.

New findings into Brits’ payment habits show 61% of us no longer use cheques to pay for our monthly commitments, supporting claims from major retailers like Boots and Tesco.

Alongside petrol giant Shell, these companies have taken steps to restrict the use and acceptance of cheques because customers prefer the convenience of Direct Debit.

Three out of four adults say ‘DD’ is their preferred payment method; and with the decline in cheque usage set to plummet a further 6% every year until 2015, some say small firms should consider the trend.

In fact, The Bankers Automated Clearing Services (BACS), which issued the new research, has gone one step further, saying “smaller, independent businesses ought to consider following suit.”

Across the board, the BACS says the number of organisations using cheques to make their own business-related payments has steadily decreased.

Figures from pollster Mori also confirm usage of cheques to pay bills has declined across virtually all regular household and individual commitments.

For high street giant Boots, which recently banned cheques in over 40 branches, paying by paper is the choice of only two customers in every 1,000.

Reflecting on the trend, BACS said it seems our increasingly busy lifestyles are to blame for the decline in cheque usage, as consumers prefer the “convenience of automated payments.”

Managing director Michael Chambers said: “For some time now, our data has indicated that cheque usage has been in a steady decline, with those who have a bank or building society account, choosing to pay regular bills by cheque dropping by 10 per cent over the past five years.”

He said it was “unsurprising” that an increasing number of companies are now excluding cheque payments, particularly as “consumers are going the same way.”

“We know that consumers are finding Direct Debit an easier way to pay because it saves time, is a simple way to keep on top of monthly payments, it is easy to use and it is protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee.”


16th February 2007

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