retail news in context, analysis with attitude

No, this isn’t some sort of April Fool’s joke.

The UK Payments Council ruled yesterday that the use of written checks will be phased out there, with checks no longer being accepted in the UK as of November 1, 2018. The reason: so many people are using debit and credit cards, and shopping online, that checks have been deemed to be on the road to obsolescence.

According to reports, 20 years ago there were more than 11 million checks a day written in the UK, a number that has dropped to four million. And now that the death knell has been sounded, it is expected that use of checks is likely to plummet.

Opponents of the decision say that it is better for big banks and big retailers than for small banks and independent retailers, not to mention charities and schools; the elderly, who may not trust debit and cards, also are seen as being disadvantaged by the initiative. Furthermore, since banks in the UK have gone through a bailout similar to the one in the US, it is argued that they are taking an anti-consumer position at the precise moment when they should be grateful to the public sector for getting them through a difficult period.

Backers of the move, however, say that it simply formalizes something that was happening anyway.
KC's View:
Hand in hand with this decision, banks also ought to be simplifying their rates and fees, making them more transparent and, quite frankly, lower. That way, the savings that are seen by going to a completely electronic system are actually seen by consumers, and not just in the dividends earned by shareholders and the bonuses awarded to fat cat senior executives.

On the face of it, though, I have no problem with this change, especially because it is nine years out - it isn’t like people are being forced to adjust their habits overnight. And I wouldn’t worry so much about the elderly...because nine years from now, some of the people who would hate the change may not be around anymore, and the “elderly” demographic will made up of people who are more used to the use of cards rather than checks.

There is a word for this kind of shift. It’s called “change.”

Resistance is futile.