Written evidence submitted by D E Freeman
After the pronouncement by the banks to cease
handling cheques in a few years time, I think it is appropriate
to inform you that I object to the phasing out of this form of
Cheques are the safest way of making payment
in this now rather complex and unruly country. Not everyone has
or wants a computer facility. Cheques are much safer for the public.
Technology systems have a weakness where safety is concerned.
It has become more and more difficult for the public to communicate
with all sorts of providers and companies. Just look at computer
generated correspondence. The machine spews out the same letter
time and time again. When the public telephone these organisations,
it is difficult to speak to a human being and when you do, they
often cannot find your records, they say that any problem will
be put right, but the reality is that it usually is not.
Last year the AA of which I had membership and
arranged all my various insurances, failed to find my car insurance
details resulting in my having to arrange emergency cover through
an insurance agency in my village of Hingam. I paid by cheque.
It was too dangerous to be in a position of not being properly
The amazing thing is that I had been an AA subscriber
for very many years. It appeared my car insurance details were
not on the new computer system. The operative could not access
any details from the old system. Needless to say I have cancelled
my AA membership subscription and I do not intend to use their
I give you all this information because there
is a message that needs to be put across to your Committee. The
systems that have been set up in this country in the last several
years are too often "User Unfriendly". All the information
a customer user requires to know is held by the provider and that
provider often cannot or will not produce that information.
With a bank issued cheque book the public have
the best way to ensure they have a record of their money transactions.
Direct debits are nice for the companies and banks, but are a
step away from the customer/user keeping control of his or her
Finally if processing cheques is a cost to banks,
the problems of not having cheque payment facilities for the public
is not only a cost to them but a dangerous headache, which leaves
them very vulnerable to loss and manipulation.