Written evidence submitted by R P Gallagher
UK PAYMENTS COUNCIL
I understand that you are holding an inquiry
and taking evidence into the above decision.
Whilst I do not represent any particular group
of people I think that I am speaking for a sizeable minority of
people in this country who would like cheques to be retained and
not phased out.
I would lie to put forward the following points.
1. Cheques have long been used in this country
and are still a very effective means of moving money generally.
(Even the banks still use them.)
2. The decision to phase cheques out is
a selfish one and out of touch with the public.
Tradesmen use them, small businesses use them
and pensioners like to use them too. They are useful for plumbers,
3. Usage: it is a small wonder that usage
has fallen when the banks (who could well afford to process them,
bearing in mind their profits and bonuses) are trying to get them
Also large supermarkets and retailers are refusing
to accept them (because they cannot be bothered with them).
In my opinion, as they are a legal form of tender,
they should all have to accept them.
Online Banking: Unacceptable to
some people eg elderly people. Not all people have computers and
the internet and some cannot afford them. Computers cost a lot
of money, there is a monthly payment to an internet provider and
reception in some areas is poor. Also computer training is required
for the user. Fraud is a continuing problem.
Direct Debit: These can only be
set up for regular and known bills, not for occasional, irregular
Mobile Phones: The nearest paypoint
may be a few miles away and entail travel and expense. It is much
simpler to write a cheque and put it in the post box which is
only yards away from your home.
Debit Card: This is not suitable
to pay tradesmen.
Cash: This is very useful but
there is no proof you have paid anything. But if you ban cheques
a lot of older people will resort to cash. Are you seeking a society
where the elderly keep a lot of cash in the home?
5. If you want to provide alternatives,
they must be comparable alternatives and there does not appear
to be one. All alternatives involve expense (either in terms of
expense for equipment or travel expense to visit an outlet and
who wants more delay and expense?)
I have to say that the Government does not recognise
at all some elements in Society and their needs. It is always
trying to change things and not for the better either. The use
of electronic equipment is not always the best for everyone and
susceptible to fraud. Notice how all the information on the TV
and the radio states: "It will be on the website... com"
but an address is never given now. People do not write letters
anymore!! Your own inquiry stated "evidence by E-mail"
What if people do not have E-mail? A typical example.
I also think that Governments may have a sinister
motive in promoting the use of electronic payments and of course
I hope that the decision to phase out cheques