Tesco to stop taking chequesFrom next month cheques won't be accepted

30 January 2008

Signing cheque

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Tesco will no longer accept cheques at its tills from next month.

The UK's biggest supermarket chain has announced it will ditch cheques as a method of payment from February 25, at all its 2,000 stores.

Boots, Next, Shell garages, Currys and PC World no longer accept cheques and rival supermarkets Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Asda have also banned cheques.

Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer (M&S) will stop accepting cheques in its stores from March 1.

But despite an increasing number of companies refusing to accept them, Which? research shows that 57% of consumers still find cheques really useful. Our research from March 2007 also found that 55% of adults had paid by cheque at least once in the past month.

A Tesco spokesman said: ‘Phasing out the use of cheques in stores will result in quicker service and improved security for our customers.'

Usage falling

An M&S spokeswoman said the chain decided to stop accepting cheques because their usage was falling every year.

‘Cheques now account for less than 2% of all transactions at M&S and that figure is declining year on year,’ she said.

In 1990, people wrote 11 million cheques everyday but by 2005 that figure had dropped to 5.3 million as debit and credit cards became more popular.

Elderly people

The Tesco spokesman added: ‘We recognise that some people especially the elderly might be worried by this change and this is why we have given customers plenty of notice and we will be in touch with Age Concern and other groups to advise that where necessary they can call their bank, building society or credit card provider and request an alternative, usually a signature card which will not require them to use a pin number.’

Age Concern said it was concerned that more retailers would stop accepting cheque payments.

The charity's chief Gordon Lishman, said: ‘Debit cards are widely used but it is important for older people to have the option to pay for goods and services using other means, such as by cheque.

‘This is essential for people who don't have a debit card or who are unable to use chip and pin for purchases.’

Signature and Pin

Mr Lishman said consumers could still validate card payments with a signature instead of a Pin number by setting this up with their card issuer.

‘Anyone having difficulty using a Pin should ask their bank, building society or post office about other ways to verify a card,’ he added.