New advice issued on protecting your chequesPayments body highlights fraud risk

27 February 2008

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Number of cheques the average person received in 2007

Cheque use has now become so infrequent that payments body Apacs issued new advice giving safety tips on them.

The group said the advice, produced with the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company (C&CCC), tells people who still write and receive cheques how to prevent fraud and ensure their cheques clear without unnecessary delays.

The groups said that as people used cheques less and less, they might not be as aware as they had been in the past about how to use them safely.

Personal cheques

The use of personal cheques has halved during the past ten years, falling from 1.8 billion cheques in 1997 to just 890 million last year.

During 2007, the average person received only five cheques, while they made just 1.5 payments by cheque each month.

A number of major retailers and supermarkets now no longer accept payment by cheque, including Tesco, Sainsbury's and Adsa, while Marks & Spencer will no longer accept them from the end of this month.

Risk of fraud

Recent research carried out by C&CCC found that more than half of UK account holders are now concerned about receiving payments by cheque, while a quarter do not like to write cheques because of the risk of fraud.

Sandra Quinn, director of communications at Apacs, said: 'Cheques have been around for over 300 years and in the last few years they've become less popular as other payment methods have come along.

'As cheque payments become less common, it's easy to forget some of the rules for writing and paying in cheques. This new guide offers straightforward advice to keep safe, and tips on alternative payment methods.'

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