With nearly half a billion cheques written in 2016, it is vital that the UK’s cheque clearing process is robust, reliable and secure. With this in mind, and to ensure that the future of the cheque is protected for as long as customers want to use them, the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company (C&CCC) is introducing a new and quicker way of clearing cheques that uses 21st century technology.

Called the Image Clearing System, the proposed new method will revolutionise how cheques are cleared in the UK. It will mean that cheques will be cleared using a digital image of the cheque rather than via the current paper-based clearing system where the actual paper cheque is transported around the country to be cleared.

The new system will go live with some banks and building societies from 30 October 2017. Then, at some stage in the second half of 2018, all of the UK’s banks and building societies will clear all cheques via the image-based system to the faster timescale. Over time, increasing numbers of cheques will be cleared using the new system and more and more customers will benefit from the faster timescales, until such time in the second half of next year when all cheques will clear more quickly. The precise date as to when this will happen will be announced by the industry in due course. Banks and building societies will also advise their customers at the appropriate time regarding their individual roll-out plans.

One of the main benefits of an image-based system is that the cheque clearing process can be speeded up, so cheque recipients will see the money appear in their account more quickly. In addition, once the cheque is paid in, the person or business who wrote the cheque will find that the money will leave their account to a faster timescale too.

Nobody has to do anything differently if they don’t want to

Customers will still write paper cheques and give or post them to the recipient as they do now. However, cheque imaging is also about providing more choice, and it means that some banks and building societies may offer their customers the additional option of paying in an image of the cheque - by using a secure mobile banking app on their smartphone or tablet - rather than having to go to a bank to pay it in. Although this is likely to be a more convenient method for some, customers will still have the option of paying in cheques in exactly the same way as they do today, so there is absolutely no requirement for customers to use a smartphone or tablet to pay-in a cheque if they don’t want to.

Please note that all information, material and publications on our website regarding the Image Clearing System and the proposed cheque imaging process, are subject to further amendment or change without notice. We expressly disclaim any liability to any users for any information on the website, which may change or be withdrawn without notice. For further information please see our Terms of Use. .

If you would like to be kept up-to-date with all future developments regarding our cheque imaging work, please email: info@chequeandcredit.co.uk.