U.K. Retailers Stop Accepting Checks

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The BBC reported that effective Feb. 25, Tesco would no longer accept paper checks at the checkout lanes in its 2,000 stores. Additionally, Marks & Spencer will adopt the same policy, effective March 1, according to the BBC report.

Tesco had recently banned checks from select stores to test consumer reaction. The decision to stop accepting checks at all its stores was made following the trial period, reportedly because customers would benefit because banning checks would result in improved security and faster service. Recognizing that some customers, such as elderly shoppers who have relied on checks for years, might object to the ban, Tesco will train its associates to help with the transition by offering advice on other payment options. However, consumers’ preference for check payment has been steadily declining.

Citing statistics from Apacs, the U.K.’s payment association, the BBC noted that only 4% of all retail sales in the U.K. are paid by check vs. 60% paid by credit or debit card.

BBC quoted Apacs’ spokeswoman, Jemma Smith, who said, “Over the last year or so we’ve started to see a growing number of retailers who have decided not to accept cheques, so we are definitely starting to see the death of the cheque on the High Street.”

Additional retailers that, according to the BBC, are no longer accepting checks included Asda, Argos, Boots, Debenhams, Next, Sainsbury’s and WH Smith.