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Cheque use falls even further

Number written has dropped by half in last decade

The use of cheques fell at its fastest rate ever during 2006, with just under half of consumers no longer using them at all.

The number of cheques written has halved during the past 10 years, falling from two billion a year in 1996 to just one billion last year, according to payment body APACS.

The group said only 54% of people wrote a cheque during the year, and only 47% were paid by cheque.

People now write an average of just 1.6 cheques a month, and receive one just once every two months.

Paying bills

Cheques accounted for only one out of every 14 non-cash payments during 2006, compared with one in four in 1996. They now account for just 3% of all non-cash payments made in shops.

But cheques remain popular for some types of payment, with 23% of all cheques written being used to pay bills, while 13% are used to pay other individuals.

Sandra Quinn, director of communications at APACS, said: ‘Cheque use has really taken a tumble in the past decade as both consumers and businesses have increasingly made the move away from paper and opted for plastic and automated payments instead.

‘Despite this we are not yet predicting the death of the cheque. Although volumes will continue to fall, we forecast that there will still be around 840 million cheques used in the UK in 2016.’

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