Filed Under: Payment systems, Payments

Kicking and screaming into the 1770s

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You can’t say that London isn’t a fintech powerhouse and epicentre of the revolution that is forging a new financial services industry in the white heat of old technology. Wait, what?

“The UK is to roll out an image-based cheque clearing system in October that will slash processing times from six ‘weekdays’ to one day”

UK to roll out image-based cheque clearing system

I’d forgotten that some people still use cheques. I haven’t seen one for ages and haven’t the slightest idea where my chequebook is. I can’t even think what I might need a cheque for. In the last couple of weeks I’ve paid our gardener, window cleaner, a contractor and my youngest son using my mobile phone. I have absolutely no need for cheques. Still, they are important to the powers that be.

“These changes will put cheques firmly in the 21st century”

UK to roll out image-based cheque clearing system

Actually, it will put cheques firmly in the 18th century, which is when they last used to clear in one day because the clerks of the London banks had set up their own informal clearing system down the pub.

“Daily cheque clearing began around 1770 when the bank clerks met at the Five Bells, a tavern in Lombard Street in the City of London, to exchange all their cheques in one place and settle the balances in cash.”

Cheque clearing – Wikipedia

Why waste money supporting the declining cheque business (cheque use fell another 15% in the UK last year) when we should be spending the money on identity infrastructure that is need to support the transition to open banking. It could all have been so different!

One thought on “Kicking and screaming into the 1770s”

  1.' Richard Sanders says:

    Hey Dave you clearly have not won the lottery. One of the big protesters was Camelot when cheques were going to be withdrawn. Showing a picture of you with a £100 million win on your phone just would not be the same. Is that one cheque you would take then (assuming you still have a paying in book somewhere?

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