Consumers accepting payment by cheque will have more certainty about when they can access the money from the end of this week, it has been announced.
From this Friday, any cheques paid into a major UK bank or building society will have cleared within six working days, meaning account holders will not suffer a loss if the cheque subsequently bounces.
People will also be able to earn interest on a cheque no later than two working days after they pay it in and they will be able to withdraw the money no later than four working days after depositing it.
The changes, known as 2-4-6, will apply to anyone who pays a cheque, banker’s draft or building society cheque into a UK current account or basic bank account.
Maximum time limits for being able to withdraw funds from savings accounts will be slightly longer at six days rather than four.
The Cheque and Credit Clearing Company, the industry body that manages the cheque clearing system, said the time scales were guaranteed limits and individual groups would still compete to offer faster services.
Cheques ‘remain important’
It said the changes should offer greater certainty to consumers after research showed that less than a quarter of cheque users knew the correct timescales for cheque clearing and more than half were worried about accepting cheques in case they bounced.
Angela Thomas, managing director of the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company, said: ‘Although cheque use has fallen over the last few years, cheques remain important for certain customers in certain situations.
‘Whether it’s a small business or someone selling a car, there are many occasions where cheques still get handed over.
‘These changes will really benefit anyone paying in a cheque, offering them certainty and clarity on when the money has cleared and giving real peace of mind.’
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