MPs call for cheque guarantee cards to be brought back

Posted on: 18/11/2011

The Payments Council faced immense pressure from the Treasury Select Committee (a group of MPs from across all parties) this week to reinstate the much-missed cheque guarantee card, which was abolished in June of this year.

Earlier this year, theTCS published a report on the future of cheques which stated that, without a concrete guarantee system, cheques would begin to be seen as unreliable forms of payment and will subsequently begin to "wither on the vine" as more and more shops refuse to accept them. MPs are now insisting that the Council re-open its investigation into the use of cheques and the necessity of the cheque guarantee card in ensuring the paper payment method survives and indeed thrives.

Since the abolishment of the guarantee card, many groups and individuals have been campaigning for its reintroduction, insisting that there are numerous groups of people in the UK who rely on cheques as a vital method of payment. Age UK in particular are keen to see the card brought back as many elderly people still use the paper payment slips as their main method of payment.

In December 2009, the Payments Council were forced to reverse their decision to abolish the use of cheques after they received numerous complaints about the plans.

Many believe that cheques remain as a vital payment method, particularly for older people and small businesses. Indeed, Cash-is-Cool contributor, Ron Delnevo, who is MD of Bank Machine and a Director of the Payments Council was a prominent voice arguing against the planned abolition of cheques, and he played a key role in securing the Payment Council’s eventual U-turn. He argues that the Payments Council needs a bigger board, more extensive independent representation, and importantly, a more clearly defined consumer-focused remit.

By protecting the continued use of cheques – and indeed taking measures to ensure that cheque usage can become more widespread – the TSC are indicating the necessity and importance of maintaining a broad range of payment methods.

Certainly cheques are not as widely used as they once were, but while they are still being used by such a high (and indeed more vulnerable) portion of the UK public – small businesses and elderly people – they must continue to be supported.

Although cash remains popular across all sections of society, it is under serious threat from the actions of global card schemes, so we must strive to ensure that it is given the full support of the government as a vital form of payment in the UK. While the introduction of contactless technology and ever more impressive credit and debit cards, many banks are eager to see cash forced out of day-to-day transactions.


Cash is key within our economy – particularly to those who are unable to gain access to contactless cards or advanced credit and debit card accounts. It is essential that we protect the more economically vulnerable and that we continue to do all we can to maintain the easiest (and cheapest!) methods of payment for them to use.

We hope that the TSC will continue this campaign to safeguard our favourite payment methods, particularly our much loved cheque books, for many years to come! 

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