Image-based cheque clearance goes live
An industry-wide, image-based cheque clearing system was rolled out this week, speeding up the cheque deposit process. New software introduced in some banks and building societies on Monday, and across all providers by the second half of 2018, will allow people to clear a cheque within 24 hours. Barclays and Lloyds have already tested out imaging technology, but currently only their own cheques can be paid in. This UK-wide system will mean cheques from a different bank can be cashed in.
At the moment it can take up to six days for a cheque to be processed. The new image-based cheque clearance, however, will take less time. Customers will still write paper cheques, but when they take these to their bank, the cashier will take a picture of the cheque that will then be exchanged electronically through the new system. Some customers will also be able to do this at home, using a picture tool on their banking app, allowing them to upload an image.
Initially, the process is likely to take as long as before, because not all banks are using the new system, the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company said. Over time, cheques will be cleared within 24 hours.
Telegraph Money contacted Britain’s biggest banks to check whether they had plans to go live. A spokesman for Santander said it was piloting the service with a “small percentage of customers” from the end of October, with a wider roll-out in summer 2018. Lloyds Banking Group said that from this week, a “small number” of Lloyds, Bank of Scotland and Halifax customers would see faster clearing times.
Nationwide confirmed it was live with the new imaging system, while Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest will not introduce image-based clearance until the end of January.
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