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Table of Contents

Lead Story

A new era in digital marketing

News

Industry Update

Heartland settles some, loses one

U.K. checkless by 2018?

Diners Club: New brand, new voice

A new level of protection

Features

Research Rundown

A capital idea for growth

Selling Prepaid

Prepaid in brief

Understanding prepaid's target audience

Ciao prepaid

Brush up on terminology for 2010

Views

To checklist or not to checklist

Biff Matthews
CardWare International

Education

Street SmartsSM:
New year, new plan

Jon Perry and Vanessa Lang
888QuikRate.com

Manipulation is good

Daniel Wadleigh
Marketing Consultant

Effective tradeshow marketing

Peggy Bekavac Olson
Strategic Marketing

Digging into PCI - Part 7:
Restrict access to cardholder data by business need to know

Tim Cranny
Panoptic Security Inc.

Company Profile

mPayy Inc.

New Products

An ATM for all types of weather

Triton RL5000, Triton RL1600
Triton Systems of Delaware Inc.

Inspiration

Courting curmudgeons

Departments

10 Years ago in
The Green Sheet

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

Miscellaneous

2010 Calendar of events

Skyscraper Ad

The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 11, 2010  •  Issue 10:01:01

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U.K. checkless by 2018?

It's been 400 years since the first businessman issued a signed document that eventually became known as a check, and policymakers and bankers in the United Kingdom have decided enough is enough. Following nearly 20 years of declining check usage among businesses and consumers in the U.K., the Payments Council's board, which sets strategies and directives for U.K. payment systems, has set a sunset date for check clearing: Oct. 31, 2018.

The decision applies across the U.K. and Northern Ireland.

According to Checks at the End of the 20th Century ... and Beyond! by Paul H. Green, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Green Sheet Inc., the first "check" was written by Mr. Dalboe, a man doing business with London goldsmiths, in 1659. Checks were created to facilitate trade (especially international trade) without having to include chests of gold and coins with individual shipments.

After a nearly four-century run, however, check usage in the U.K. began to decline in 1990, and in the past 5 years alone, dropped a significant 40 percent, according to the Payments Council. In 2008, just over 1.4 billion checks were written in the U.K. and Northern Ireland, according to data published by the Bank for International Settlement. Based on data from the BIS and the Payments Council, it costs banks in the U.K. an estimated $1.40 (USD) to process one check.

Unchecked

The decision to phase out checks in the U.K., announced on Dec. 16, 2009, follows 18 months of consultations and deliberations and a decision by the Payments Council to take an active role in the transition to a checkless U.K.

The Payments Council is a private sector watchdog group for policy and enforcement actions involving payment schemes; its membership includes major banks and interbank payment exchanges.

"The Payments Council wants to ensure that consumers and businesses are not left high and dry when the closure of the clearing [system] occurs," the council stated. "This announcement marks the start of extensive work that we need to do to ensure that everyone has a viable alternative, should the check clearing close."

The council said it will "revisit" its decision in 2016.

"[T]he real challenge lies ahead if we are going to be comfortable to wave good-bye to the check, which undeniably occupies a unique place in British culture," said Payments Council Chief Executive Officer Paul Smee. "The payments industry will have to react positively and take the lead on delivering solutions which suit all their customers."

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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