Cheques now clear through an image-based cheque clearing system that speeds up cheque processing significantly for customers across the UK. This has replaced the paper based clearing system.
One of the main benefits of an image-based system is that the cheque clearing process has been speeded up. Typically, if a customer pays in a cheque on a weekday (before their bank or building society’s advertised cut-off time) they will be able to withdraw the funds by 23.59 on the next weekday (bank holidays excluded and provided the cheque doesn’t bounce). However, some banks and building societies may allow their customers to access their funds earlier than this.
The advertised cut-off time will vary from bank to bank and building society to building society and according to how the cheque is paid in - for example: over the counter, by post, through an ATM or by mobile banking app or desktop scanner linked to online banking.
Customers need to talk to their bank or building society for more details.
If a customer pays in a cheque in at a Post Office, the above timescale will increase by at least one additional day. This is because the Post Office has to send the cheque to the customer’s bank before it can be entered into the clearing system.
Nobody has to do anything differently if they don’t want to
Even with the image-based system, customers will still write cheques as they do today and give or post them to recipients in exactly the same way as they always have. Cheque recipients will still be able to pay in cheques in the normal variety of ways, such as at a bank or building society, by post or at an ATM.
Cheque imaging is also about providing more choice, and it means that some banks and building societies might offer their personal customers the additional option of paying in an image of the cheque – using a cheque deposit option in their mobile banking app - rather than going to a branch to pay it in. For business and charity customers, banks may provide desktop scanners linked to their online bank account, allowing them to pay in, as digital images, large numbers of cheques that they receive.
Money arrives/leaves your account sooner
Introduction of the new process means that when a cheque is cleared via the image-based system, not only will the recipient receive the money in their account more quickly, the money will leave the account of the person, business or charity that wrote the cheque to a faster timescale too, especially if the cheque recipient pays it in to their account via a smartphone, tablet or scanner.