Cheque guarantee card could yet be revived

The scrapping of cheque guarantee cards could yet be overturned after senior MPs raised concerns over the impact of the abolition of the scheme.

In a report published today, the Treasury select committee calls on the government to consider reintroducing cheque guarantee cards or developing an alternative scheme to ensure that businesses continue to accept cheques.

The report warns that the end of the scheme in June led to more retailers and other organisations refusing to accept cheques, undermining the system.

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The government has already overturned the Payments Council’s decision to scrap cheques, which were set to be phased out by 2018, and the Commons committee now says it could also intervene on guarantee cards.

The Payments Council is reviewing the impact of the guarantee card scheme’s closure and expects to report its findings by the end of the year.

Andrew Tyrie MP, chairman of the select committee, said: “The government can consider whether intervention on the cheque guarantee card is needed when they have the Payments Council’s report to hand.”

Recent government proposals to regulate the Payments Council are good news for millions of people hoping to keep using cheques, Tyrie added. “It will also offer consumers some protection against being bounced by the Payments Council into other changes that would disadvantage them”.

Michelle Mitchell, charity director of Age UK, said: “This report is a strong signal to the government to ensure that banks listen and protect what is an essential method of payment for many older people.”