UK bans paper checks as of 2018?

I read in my credit union newsletter the UK will ban checks by 2018 - is this true? And if so is this for everyone including businesses and government? Or just individuals?

Yes, it is true, and yes, it will apply across the board:

Haven’t heard of any US plans in that direction. I’m not sure it would go over well here.

Is this a first step to abandoning all cash transactions? After all, quoting from the linked article, “There are many more efficient ways of making payments than by paper in the 21st century, and the time is ripe for the economy as a whole to reap the benefits of its replacement.”

From Wiki

I’m reading this not so much that they will be banned, but just the end of where businesses will readily accept them.
You would still be able to use them to pay the music teacher, baby sitter, gardener, or others that don’t have ready access to electronic fund transfers.

I guess you will just have to pay friends, babysitters, etc in cash.

I don’t like paying with check nowadays, so I hardly ever use them. But sometimes they are the best way. As the linked article says:

“Although cheque use has been in decline since 1990, and has fallen by 40% over the last five years, there are still plenty of situations where cheques are used extensively. These include payments between individuals, and payments to sole traders, small businesses, clubs, charities and schools.”

Those are indeed among the few situations where I tend to use checks nowadays. If they could find a good solution that works in cases like these, they probably could get rid of checks altogether.

By 2018 you will probably be able to pay most people via online bill pay , assuming they have a bank account. They just need to make sure the account number you get is only for deposits.

To be honest though, most businesses will not accept personal cheques anymore. The retail (food) place I work for said that they would accept cheques as long as they could put them in the bank. Currently we don’t allow people to use them so either banks stopped it for us or someone higher in the management chain thought there was too much fraud happening.

Don’t worry, eventually you’ll be able to swipe your arm on theirs and deposit funds directly.


That is the case in the UK already. Every high street bank has online banking that makes it trivial to send money to anybody else with a bank account. The payments usually clear in 2 hours. And in the UK, knowing somebody’s bank account number and sort code only allows you to make deposits into that account, not withdrawls from it.

I’m in favor of the idea. I also don’t see why the government doesn’t do away with checks. You don’t have a bank account for them to put it in they can hold it until you get one.
In the past 4-5 years I haven’t written more than 3-4 per year.

I find this very hard to believe. Is absolutely everyone going to be able to accept payments electronically from anywhere in the world by then? What about receipts and confirmation?

I prefer to do my bill payments by check. I never use them for purchases.

Where do I sign up?

As Jeremy Clarkson found out in 2008, that’s not strictly true. I’m not sure whether that particular loophole has been closed.

Absolutely. When was the last time you saw a Starfleet Officer pay for something in cash? Think long-term… think big picture.

What about recipients who do not have a bank account? I guess you’d have to pay them in cash.

But anybody who has a bank account has access to e-transfer, and if they can’t get a bank account they probably want cash anyway. I can count on the fingers of one hand the cheques I’ve seen outside the US and have digits left. The only country where I’ve had problems with e-transfers is the US (Citibank claiming that processing an e-payment would take 30 days as they didn’t know the bank sending it - which was Citibank Spain; bank workers being unfamiliar with the concept of IBAN); I’ve sent or received them from/to Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain, the US, Switzerland, the UK, Ireland, Italy and France.

More and more companies and individuals seem to be using PayPal to transfer money or to pay for goods. It’s certainly cheaper than using a bank transfer when sending funds abroad.