We’ve come a long way since 1659 when the earliest known cheque first came into play. Digging through the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank Group (CYBG) archives I can find one dated back to 6 May 1857 (North of Scotland Bank is part of CYBG’s banking history).

Cheque dated 6 May 1857

Whilst cheque usage peaked in the 1990s it is still a commonly-used method of payment and CYBG clears 60,000 items per day, split equally between cheques paid into and cheques paid out of our customers’ accounts. My first experience of a cheque was a £5 gift from my aunt and I nagged my mum to help me cash it!

Driving digital innovation and adoption is key to meeting our business objectives. The introduction of cheque imaging has allowed us to exploit new technology including market-leading fraud detection systems and providing our customers more choice with the ability to pay in an image of the cheque - by using a completely secure mobile banking app on a smartphone or tablet.

This feature was launched to customers in November 2017; an innovation that gives our customers many benefits, including the convenience of depositing their cheques in five easy steps without having to visit one of our Customer Banking Centres (CBCs). This really is banking at the touch of your fingertips from the comfort of your own home.

Shows the process of cheque imaging

There have been 30k deposits since launch and this feature has been applauded by customers, colleagues and the banking industry alike. It was shortlisted in the ‘Best Use of Mobile’ category at this year’s FS Tech Awards.  Here’s what some of our customers and colleagues have to say about it.

“The new cheque deposit feature you’ve added to this app – a real time-saver for me and exactly the kind of thing I want from mobile banking – thank u!” Miderwalfie, Clydesdale Bank Customer

“I love being able to show people how cool this function is in the B app. Nobody believes it until they see it!” Jill Brown, Head of Corporate Advisory Legal

I recently attended a reception to launch our Q1 2018 SME Health Check Index at the House of Commons to talk to MPs, journalists and trade bodies about the benefits that cheque imaging will provide to customers. MPs commented that investing in mobile apps was a more inclusive digital journey as the majority of constituents will own a mobile phone as opposed to a PC or laptop.

With CYBG’s journey to becoming a full image clearing bank well underway, mobile cheque deposits was only the first step. In April we began to move some of our back office processes to the new Image Clearing System.

The last leg of the journey (and the one with the biggest customer and colleague benefit) will see all of our CBCs become image clearing-enabled. It will be a busy summer for the CYBG team as we enable all our CBCs and back office processes with image clearing functionality.

Laurence Gray, one of our CBC Managers summed it up perfectly: “The staff have been discussing the change with our customers and the benefits it will bring. Customers are thrilled at this significant change to the cheque clearing cycle and the speed with which they will receive their funds... it's a huge milestone for a process that a large number of customers believed had been forgotten about in the banking industry.”

With the finish line in sight, I can begin to reflect on what CYBG has achieved to date through collaboration with the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company and the other UK banks and building societies. This monumental change was only possible due to the efforts of the industry as a whole and that’s definitely something to keep in cheque!