Unfortunately, 2018 may mark the end of the cheque. It appears that a body known as the “Payments Council”, made up of representatives of the banks and four independent members, has decided that 31st October, 2018 will be the day to shut down the UK’s central cheque clearing system, bringing an end to the era of writing cheques, notwithstanding the fact that around 1.4 billion cheques were used written in 2008.
It seems that government – do not believe the banks (two of whom are now state controlled) would be proceeding along this route without the complaisance of the government – wants to move over to exclusively electronic payment system.
When one purchases an article in a shop with one’s debit/credit card, the powers that be have a record of where you are at that point in time, and since most shops have CCTV the powers that be will have your image written onto a hard drive to confirm it was you.
State surveillance goes further: if you have a mobile phone and you have it switched on your position can be triangulated – you do not have to be using the phone. It you have a sat-nav in your car this technology can be adapted to allow the state to know where you are – and what speed you are doing. In future it is planned that cars will be able to report all aspects of its functioning – including position and speed using a “black box” technology inspired from aircraft flight recorders.
Of course this will means extra expense for the thousands of small businesses across the U.K. Those businesses wishing to take payment by card must rent the equipment to do so from their bank – at considerable expense. Those businesses operating on the internet can opt for payment systems such as PayPal where the fixed costs are much less. However for businesses that deal direct with the public having to ask a customer to sit down at the office computer terminal and pay is not a practical solution. Herwith a case in point:
There is a successful LPG installer and retailer located off Meanwood Road in Leeds 7, whose business comprises the fitting and servicing of LPG systems to vehicles and the supply of LPG fuel to same. Most of their customers are the taxi and licensed private hire drivers in Leeds. The business does not offer debit/credit card facilities as those wishing for a car conversion can pay by cheque and most of the taxi and private hire drivers wish to pay for their fuel in cash.
Another set of examples are charities, voluntary and political organisations. These rely on the occasional large donation. It is easy to write a cheque and to send it off in the post. Many potential donors will be put off by the thought of having to ring a call-centre and answer a lot of security questions.
The people do not want this change. But when have our dear leaders ever listened or followed the wishes of the people?