Cheque reprieve a victory for consumer choice says Consumer Panel
14 July 2011
The Financial Services Consumer Panel has welcomed the decision by the UK Payments Council to ensure consumers can use cheques for as long as they need.
In its original submission to the Council the Panel felt that it was premature to set a 2018 deadline for abolishing cheque payments. The Panel raised objections on the basis that there was a lack of an effective alternative for person to person and consumer to small business payments.
Moreover, with a large proportion of the population regularly using cheques and over a billion cheque payments being made every year, cheques were clearly still the preferred method of payment for a large number of consumers.
Kay Blair, Vice Chair of the Consumer Panel commented:
"We welcome this common sense move by the UK Payments Council. With over a billion payments by cheque made every year many consumers still consider the cheque their preferred form of payment.
Consumers are entitled to choose the payment method they favour when spending their own money. Three years down the line from the original inquiry there is still a lack of effective alternatives to cheques.
More work needs to be done by the financial services industry to introduce credible alternatives to cheques. If retailers and banks want consumers to use other means of payment they should make available easy and safe alternatives rather than simply trying to penalise cheque users."
- The Financial Services Consumer Panel response to the UK Payments Council inquiry can be found on the Consumer Panel website.
- In 2010 there were 1.1bn payments by cheque according to the UK Payments Council.
- The Consumer Panel is a statutory body under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and was initially established by the Financial Services Authority in December 1998. The Panel advises the FSA Board on the interests and concerns of consumers and reports on the FSA's performance in meeting its objectives.
- The emphasis of the Panel's work is on activities that are regulated by the FSA, although it may also look at the impact on consumers of activities outside but related to the FSA's remit. More information about the Panel's work is available on our website.
- From the 1st April 2011 there are fifteen members of the Panel as listed below. Panel members are appointed to serve a maximum of two terms of three years. Further information on individual members.