People are still writing out the cheques

Three-quarters of Britons have written a cheque during the past year, with half of people writing one during the past month.

Despite the fact that the use of cheques is in decline, 76 per cent of consumers, the equivalent of 37 million people, have written a cheque during the past 12 months, according to consumer group Which?.

Around 41 per cent had used a cheque to pay a tradesman or supplier, while 23 per cent sent one to a friend or relative as a present and 14 per cent used a cheque to cover the cost of school dinners or outings.

The Payments Council announced last year that it had set a target date of 2018 for closing the cheque clearing system following a steep fall in the use of cheques.

But it has promised that consumers will not be left "high and dry" by the move.