Another Step Towards A Cashless Society

I still use checks. SO what it costs banks money to process. We know they have been working on the idea getting rid of physical currency for longer than two years. How soon will we hear similar proposals in the US. Further, when will ending paper money be officially proposed? I bet soon. They still have not make credit/chip cards any safer than they were before. People can still skim info and the privacy issues have never been addressed. We should have as many ways as possible to pay for services and goods not limit them. Anyone think banks would be brave or powerful enough to try and abolish assets such as gold or silver?


http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/ban...

From The Sunday Times by Robert Watts

Cheques to be bounced into history

BRITISH banks are drawing up plans to stop accepting cheques and instead demand payment by plastic or electronic transfer.

Consumer groups and businesses have attacked the proposals, raising the prospect of a “Save the cheque” campaign to protect a 300-year-old method of payment.

Although the number of cheques written each day has fallen by nearly two-thirds in the past 20 years, to 3.8m a day, many small traders and older people still rely on chequebooks to pay bills.

The Payments Council, a panel drawn from the big banks, will vote on December 16 on whether to abolish the cheque. It has prepared for this for two years, already announcing that cheque guarantee cards will be axed in June 2011.

A source close to the panel said: “A lot of work has gone into getting ready to do this for 2018 and it’s pretty certain to go through. The only thing that might delay this is politics. After all, you may have noticed bankers are not exactly popular at the moment.”

An announcement confirming the move is expected in January. It would save the banks hundreds of millions of pounds. Cheques cost as much as £1 to process — four times as much as electronic payments.

Paul Smee, chief executive of the Payments Council, said it had already talked with interested parties about the plan. “We will have to demonstrate that no one will lose out,” he said. “So far no group consulted has said 2018 is not feasible.”

Mapping out how Britain might move from a society where cheques are employed for almost 1 in 25 payments to one where there is no need to use a cheque is no small task.

One plan under discussion is for a town to be picked as Britain’s first “cheque-free zone”, to test the impact. Chip and Pin card-security systems were piloted in Northampton before becoming mandatory in February 2006.

Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and other retailers have stopped accepting cheques, insisting on payment by debit card, credit card or cash. However, HM Revenue and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions send out millions of cheques a year for tax rebates and benefits.

Vera Cottrell, personal finance campaigner at Which?, the consumer lobby group, said cheques remained vital for many elderly, disabled and other vulnerable people. “There are still no cheap, safe alternatives to cheques,” said Cottrell. “Until that time, cheques should not be withdrawn.”

The death of the chequebook would also oblige many customers to set up direct debits or standing orders with water and energy companies, and they can be hard to cancel.

Britain’s 4.8m small companies fear the expense of having to install card-processing machines. “We would strongly oppose any move by the banks to get rid of the chequebook,” said Stephen Alambritis, head of public affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses.

The Persians and Romans are thought to have used written payments similar to cheques, but they were not developed in Britain until the 1690s. The UK’s first printed cheques were produced in 1717.

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