Plans are underway to allow bank customers to pay cheques into their account by taking photos on their smartphones. Rather than going to the bank in person, customers will be able to photograph the cheque and then send it electronically. Currently, the law states that a bank must demand to physically see the cheque before they honour it.

Compared to many other European countries, the UK has a sluggish cheque clearing process. At the moment, it can take up to six days, whereas on the Continent, it normally takes two. This new system will bring us in line with our cousins across the Channel.

Businesses accounted for more than 370m cheque transactions in 2012. A total of 25 per cent of payments made by small businesses in 2012 were made by cheque.
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John Allan, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Many of our members, and their customers, still rely on cheques so will be pleased with the investment and innovation to ensure their continued use. Speeding up cheque payments into business accounts is to be welcomed as many find the current process frustratingly slow. Using smartphones is an interesting idea which should allow some firms in areas, particularly where bank branches are closing, to be able to accept cheques as a method of payment.”