77% say they won't use smartphone cheque payments

9 January 2014

Nearly four-fifths (77%) of Moneywise readers would not be happy to use a smartphone to pay cheques in to their bank account, our latest poll reveals.

Rather than have to physically deposit cheques in a local branch, customers would instead send a photo of the cheque to their bank via their smartphone.

The government says the technology would enable cheque payments to clear faster – in two days, rather than the current six.

However, Moneywise readers tell us they would be concerned about the security implications, with 41% stating they would not be confident the cheque – and therefore their personal details – would not fall into the hands of hackers.

The banks argue the photos would not be stored on the handset so there should be no security risk if it was stolen and that the technology would actually make the money transfer more secure.

"Moving into a virtual world will actually create a more secure customer experience than the paper experience today," said Antony Jenkins, chief executive of Barclays.

However, it is not yet clear exactly how the process would work and what details hackers may be able to obtain.


Meanwhile, there seems to be another stumbling block for the prospects of smartphone cheque payments. Over a third (36%) of Moneywise readers told us they would not be able to embrace the technology, simply because they don't own smartphones.

Yet among those Moneywise readers who do own smartphones, 24% said they would be happy to put the technology to good use. The majority of them (16%) said they already banked online anyway, and 8% said they would welcome anything that saved them the trek to their local branch.

The government is now consulting on the plans as part of a bid to secure the long-term use of cheque payments, relied upon particularly by small businesses, the elderly and the blind. In fact, the over-65s wrote 42% of all cheques banked in 2012, according to the Payments Council.

"We want to see more innovation so that customers see the benefits of new technologies," said Sajid Javid, the financial secretary to the Treasury. "We want cheques to have a crucial role in the ongoing success of the UK.”

The Payments Council (PC) was originally planning to put an end to all cheque payments by 2018 but was forced into a U-turn following an outpouring of opposition from the public. In 2012, cheque payments accounted for 10% of all payments by individuals and 25% of payments by businesses, according to the PC.

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