Saturday, 11 December 2010

Payments by cheque

Here's an interesting article -

Plans to end cheques criticised by banks

No, I am not happy. I've sent in my comments, more or less as follows -

As a textile tutor, a lot of my work is for relatively small organisations such as quilt, craft or embroidery groups who invariably pay by cheque after the workshop I've taught. Often this means I am a long way from home too, sometimes teaching one group after another and unable to bank cash. I would feel vulnerable carrying large amounts of cash around. On the other hand, groups can't be expected to pay up front but I am not comfortable about leaving them without receiving payment and expecting their treasurer to go to my bank at a later date. It doesn't help admin for a small business if I have to start chasing payments or cashflow if payments are delayed in any way.

I have enough problem making sure people spell my name correctly on a cheque. Expecting them to fill in my bank details without errors on a voucher system is probably expecting too much. It also means me handing over my bank account details to other people. I sell my books by mail order - will I have to give customers (who I don't know at all) my bank details too?

The cost of credit/debit card systems (upfront costs and monthly charges) is too high for many sole trader businesses to consider at the moment. Sending money via mobile phones would be a preferable system. However, there are still many rural areas where mobile phone signals are very weak (often I can't phone from the village halls where I teach). An easy to use mobile phone system could be the perfect gift to fraudsters too - weren't PIN supposed to stop debit & credit card fraud?

Electronic third party payment systems like Paypal, while good, are costly.

There is a lot of confusion about when cheques will be withdrawn, with many people I've met recently thinking that it will be from 2011.

As people found at the autumn quilt show at Malvern, mobile card payment systems can be very temperamental. Due to a transmission glitch, people were having problems paying for their purchases. Apart from the difficulty for the traders unable to process the payments there and then, it is embarrassing as a customer if your payment doesn't go through or is declined. It has happened to me several times when buying goods and I now know that it is caused by a glitch in the electronic banking system. Nevertheless, it puts you in an unpleasant spot as it looks like you are trying to pay with unavailable funds or whatever.

The voucher system mentioned in the BBC article just sounds like a more complicated version of a cheque book!

I'm sure quilters will continue to accept cheques for as long as possible.

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