The Treasury has proposed to introduce legislation which would allow for cheque payments to be made using smartphone images. The proposals would also see the maximum time it takes for cheques to be processed reduced from six days to two. The government hopes this will bring benefits to consumers in the form of increased convenience and added clarity – to both cheque payers and payees – regarding the availability of funds.
We broadly agree with the Treasury’s analysis that legislating to allow cheque imaging will bring a net benefit to consumers. However, we emphasise the importance of certain safeguards being maintained. The most important of these safeguards is the protection of consumers’ right to continue using paper cheques as they do now, should they wish to. Importantly, this includes the ability to visit a branch and deposit a cheque in person.