When was the last time you wrote a cheque?
For me it was last Thursday.
I wrote a cheque for my niece’s birthday, stuck it in a card and sent it to her through the post.
Admittedly it took me a moment to find my cheque book as I write so few now, but it just seemed the best option for my niece.
I thought about Amazon vouchers but I’m not sure if she would need them (apparently millions of pounds-worth of gift vouchers go unclaimed each year) and I thought about cash but that’s just too risky.
At least with a cheque you have a fighting chance of the money being protected and you certainly know who has cashed it if they’ve put it into their bank account.
In America they use cheques (or checks) all the time. They even have whole books of checks for businesses like Quickbooks checks, which you don’t see much here now.
In the UK, and certainly in other parts of Europe, it’s a bit weird to write a cheque these days. We’re massively into contactless payments now (I know I am) and it’s just a bit too easy. I love them but I am aware that it’s probably making it too straightforward for us to spend money we don’t have.
We’re also heavily into BACS payments (direct payments from bank account to bank account done online). Last year was a bumper year for BACS and they processed over six billion payments over the 12 months.
On one day alone, in July, BACS processed a massive 103 million Direct Debits and BACS Direct Credits – that’s 6.7 million every hour the system was open, or 111,000 transactions each minute.
So, with these numbers it’s quite possible that we will see the demise of the cheque in a few years’ time. At that point I guess I’ll be sending my nieces and nephews Apply payments from mobile to mobile.
It’s not the same as a piece of paper in a card though!