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Supermarket giant to consider dropping cheques

Tesco could join other big names


Cheques: Your opinions on the value of cheques
Your views % agreement
Use cheques less than they did 5 years ago 72% 72%
Find cheques really useful 57% 57%
Have paid by cheque at least once in the past month 55% 55%
Have received at least one cheque in the past month 40% 40%
Find it annoying to get a cheque 23% 23%
Have been refused when trying to pay by cheque in the past year 4% 4%

Table notes

Based on 1,003 adults aged 16+ that were interviewed by telephone in March 2007.


Britain’s biggest supermarket Tesco could be the latest retailer to ditch cheques as a method of payment.

The supermarket giant is running a trial in a handful of stores to ‘understand whether customers continue to find this payment method useful’.

Morrisons is also carrying out a small trial to gauge customer reaction to stopping cheque payments.

The news comes as a Which? survey* reveals that 72 per cent of people use cheques less than they did five years ago.

And 23 per cent of the 1,003 members of the public we questioned said they get annoyed when they are sent a cheque.

Replaced by cards

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

But despite this decline, 57 per cent of people in our survey said they still find cheques really useful.

Four per cent said they’d been refused when trying to pay by cheque over the past year and that number looks set to rise as more and more stores stop accepting cheques as a method of payment.

Boots, Next, Shell garages, Currys and PC World no longer accept cheques and supermarket chain Sainsbury’s says it’s also ‘constantly reviewing’ its policy, although at the moment it has made no firm commitment to phase out cheques.

Small business

But cheques are still a popular way of paying smaller businesses and traders, such as plumbers and builders.

A spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses said: ‘A large proportion of our members and small businesses in general still deal in cheques. They shouldn’t be penalised for that and should be able to carry on.

‘I think there will be a natural evolution away from cheques to other forms of payment and the cheque will probably die out. But for the moment we don’t think people who want to pay by cheque should be forced to do otherwise.’

* Our research: 1,003 adults aged 16+ were interviewed by telephone in March 2007.


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