End of cheque guarantee scheme looms

Four out of 10 Britons are unaware that the cheque guarantee system will be closing this year.

Around 39 per cent did not know that after June 30, they would no longer be able to guarantee a cheque payment by showing a cheque guarantee card with the Shakespeare hologram on it.

But the majority of people are unconcerned about the closure of the scheme, with 22 per cent saying they have never used it and 49 per cent saying they have not used it during the past year.

It is also thought that only a quarter of businesses have accepted a cheque backed by a cheque guarantee card during the past six months. The closure of the system does not mean that people will no longer be able to use cheques, but that those cheques will no longer be guaranteed.

However, the Payments Council has set a target date of 2018 for closing the cheque clearing system completely, following a steep fall in the use of cheques.

Jacqui Tribe, manager of the UK Domestic Cheque Guarantee Card Scheme, said: "Over the next five months banks and building societies will be working hard to make sure that everyone who is still guaranteeing cheques with a plastic card is made aware of the change, but also to make it clear that they will still be able to use and accept cheques."