The UK Payments Council has published an update on its work on the National Payments Plan. Work has primarily focused on the future of cheques, following the Payments Council board’s decision to close cheque clearing in 2018 provided suitable alternatives are available. Some of the other developments include the review of the UK Domestic Guarantee Card Scheme, the production and adherence to a Financial Inclusion Policy when proposing a major payments system change, the development of best practice on payments referencing to reduce error when making direct credit payments, and the review of the contactless and pre-paid card markets.
Richard North, chairman of the Payments Council, said: “It is hard to underestimate the challenge which the Payments Council has set itself, and indeed the whole payments industry, with its target for closing the cheque clearing in 2018. It is an important and bold decision that could change the shape of the payments landscape and produce a more efficient payment system for all users. But, a lot has to happen before the Council will confirm any decision on closure and there need to be better and simpler alternatives for all the main uses to which cheques are put, which all the different users are aware of and have willingly adopted. This project offers a clear opportunity to ensure we achieve our objective of meeting the needs of users, payment service providers and the wider economy.
“While our primary focus for the future will, of course, concentrate on delivering leadership to the cheque replacement project – something I am confident that the Council will succeed in doing – I am also pleased that we have not let momentum drift on other areas in the National Payments Plan.”
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