The fight for cheques is not over, says Age UK
Published on 08 August 2011 02:30 PM
Age UK has written to the UK's major banks and building societies asking them to set out the steps they are taking to ensure that cheques continue to be widely accepted and easily available.
The move comes amid mounting concern that cheques are still in jeopardy despite the Payments Council announcement in July that they will remain as long as needed.
Since that announcement, banks and building societies have remained silent on what they will do to bolster confidence in cheques after they abolished the guarantee card in June.
Age UK has received growing numbers of complaints from the public about retailers refusing to accept cheques.
Age UK's Charity Director, Michelle Mitchell said: 'Confidence in cheques was seriously undermined when the guarantee card was abolished. We need to know there are definite plans in place to restore trust in them. Otherwise, cheques will simply be allowed to wither away and their demise will be blamed on lack of demand.
'Cheques are too important to many older people to just fade away, particularly as the banks and building societies have not come up with an alternative payment system which is safe and accessible and allows people to maintain their financial independence.'
Nearly three out of four people over 65 have used a cheque in the last 12 months. That figure is 60 per cent for the rest of the public.
Research shows that without cheques, many older people would be forced to keep sizeable quantities of cash at home to pay their bills or have to divulge their PIN to others in order to access their own money, making them more vulnerable to theft or financial abuse.
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Notes to editors
On July 14 the Payments Council announced it would end its target date of 2018 to end the cheque clearing system. At the same time, the cheque replacement programme which was coordinating the development of new payment systems, including mobile payments and paper-based methods, was also stopped.
Data on cheque use is taken from quantitative research carried out for Age UK by Ipsos Mori with a representative sample of 1255 adults 18+ in the UK, boosted for age so that 469 respondents were aged 65 or over.
'The Way We Pay' is Age UK's report on payment systems and financial inclusion.
For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.
Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.
We provide free information, advice and support to over five million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.
Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we"). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).
Media contact: Mallary Gelb
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