TapCheques must not be allowed to die

From yesterday, Sainsbury’s will not accept cheques at the checkout. Perhaps I am a bit unobservant (well a lot actually) but I haven’t seen any warning of this. They will provide an inconvenient, slow and possibly short term concession if you are prepared to be escorted to customer service and pay there. I understand Asda, Morrisons, Boots, Smith’s, Shell and Woolworth’s have already done likewise. Tesco’s and Argos will go soon, but not Waitrose—there is a good argument for a customer centred company. The shops claim that “This is to help stop cheque fraud” but they can’t really do that and in the same breath say that “few people use cheques” anyway. If they were, they wouldn’t be making this change, it would affect sales too much.

Here are ten reasons why it would be a BAD THING for cheques to die out completely.

  1. There is no better way to transfer money from one individual to another e.g. Birthday presents in the post.
  2. It is the best way to send money via an intermediary, e.g. school trip money via your child, then the teacher to the school office.
  3. There is no audit trail for cash transfers, hence VAT, tax and benefit fraud.
  4. It is the only sensible way to pay large sums of money, a car deposit would blow many people’s credit limit.
  5. For various reasons, some small businesses don’t accept cards, e.g. the extortionate merchant fees.
  6. Temporary trading locations, like car boot sales, cannot handle chip and pin without expensive satellite or mobile phone equipment.
  7. Many voluntary organisations are not geared up to the sophistication of card handling.
  8. What happens if the retailer’s card system dies. Twice recently I have had to scrabble around for cash or go to a hole in the wall late at night to pay a restaurant bill.
  9. Cheque stubs (or record slip) gives you short term recording of transactions before the statement arrives at the end of the month.
  10. If your cards are lost or stolen you will starve for a week while the bank sorts out a replacement.

Can you think of any more?

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