Paul Holt, business manager for Newbury Building Society, welcomes the U-turn on the scrapping of the cheque

The credit crunch has seen the financial landscape change dramatically over the past few years, and possibly altered the way markets work for good.

But amidst all of the turmoil one stalwart of the industry recently received a reprieve.

Due to be obsolete by October 2018, our old friend the humble cheque has been given a stay of execution.

Richard North, chairman of the Payments Council, said: “It is in the DNA of the Payments Council to consult and listen to all those people who actually make payments and use cheques.

“Listening to over 600 stakeholder groups, working with the banks and following our appearance before the Treasury Select Committee, we have concluded we should reassure customers the cheque is staying.”

News that the cheque will remain will delight many small businesses and charities, as was confirmed by Michelle Mitchell, charity director at Age UK.

She said: “We are delighted the Payments Council has listened to the many people who said how difficult the loss of cheques would be for them. This is a vital first step that will help many older people.”

Without a viable alternative being introduced, the reversal of the scrapping of the cheque was the only sensible option.

Many people feel safer carrying a cheque than a large sum of money and many small business rely on cheques for payment.

For many, cheques are still their preferred method of payment as they provide a record of the transaction. Clubs and associations also use them when more than one signature is required for withdrawals.

The origin of the cheque can be traced back to Venice, as far as the 13th century, when the bill of exchange was developed as a legal device to allow international trade without the need to carry around large amounts of gold and silver.

Its use was subsequently adopted in France, and from there the practice was brought to England in the 14th century.

So our old friend the cheque has stood the test of time well and children can enjoy the surprise of one falling from birthday and Christmas cards for the foreseeable future.

Contact: Paul Holt, Newbury Building Society, 01235 527750 Web: