04:46 pm - Saturday 29 April 2017

Banks to accept Smartphone photos of cheques in UK

By insightVAS - Fri Dec 27, 12:19 pm

British banks may soon allow customers to pay cheques into their account by taking photos on their smartphones rather than going to the bank in person. Customers will be able to photograph the cheque, and send it electronically.

The government is to launch a consultation on the idea, with a view to making the necessary legal changes, reported news source.

The technology will also fasten the process of cheque clearance. It will only take two days to get cleared, rather than the six at the moment. Banks say the new transfer method will be more convenient, and more secure.

“Moving into a virtual world will actually create a more secure customer experience than the paper experience,” said Antony Jenkins, the Chief Executive of Barclays.

Such photos would not be stored on the phone itself, so there should be no security risk if a phone was stolen.

A new law known as Check 21 was passed, to enable banks to process cheques electronically, rather than having to transport paper versions across the country. The UK government believes a change in the law would also promote the continuing use of cheques. The UK Payments Council was originally planning to abolish all cheque payments by 2018, but was forced to change its mind after public opposition.

“We want to see more innovation so that customers see the benefits of new technologies,” said Sajid Javid, The Financial Secretary to the Treasury. “We want cheques to have a crucial role in the ongoing success of the UK,” he added.

Barclays is planning to launch a pilot programme for paying in cheques via phone from April 2014. It hopes to launch a service for all its customers later in the year.

“I think people are going into branches less and less, particularly as a result of mobile banking, and that’s going to accelerate the process,” Jenkins said.

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