Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

UK Wants To Phase Out Checks By 2018

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the cash-or-credit dept.

Government 796

The board of the UK Payments Council has set a date to phase out checks in a bid to encourage the advance of other forms of payment. They added, however, that the target of Oct. 2018 would only be realized if adequate alternatives are developed. "The goal is to ensure that by 2018 there is no scenario where customers, individuals or businesses, still need to use a cheque. The board will be especially concerned that the needs of elderly and vulnerable people are met," the Payments Council said in a statement.

cancel ×

796 comments

Good Riddance (4, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30469956)

No more old ladies holding up the line for an hour because they're too technophobic to use a debit card.

I'll shit bricks when they outlaw cash.

Re:Good Riddance (4, Interesting)

MakinBacon (1476701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470080)

As a former cashier who worked at a nationwide chain, I believe that the death of the check will be welcomed by those at all levels of retail. I have been involved in many horror stories caused by my registers check scanner accidentally tearing the check in half. Also, I had the awkward duty of explaining to people that their checks are no good and cannot be accepted without being able to tell them why (when the cashier scans your check, the register automatically does a background check).

Re:Good Riddance (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470118)

"Also, I had the awkward duty of explaining to people that their checks are no good and cannot be accepted without being able to tell them why (when the cashier scans your check, the register automatically does a background check)."

When's this feature coming to credit cards?

Re:Good Riddance (3, Informative)

MakinBacon (1476701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470136)

Actually, I had to inform them of their credit cards being denied, too, but that wasn't as awkward (for me, at least) because technically their bank was rejecting the card, not my store.

Re:Good Riddance (3, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470268)

In the UK, when you used a cheque in retail it has to be accompanied by a cheque guarantee card, which the retailer will copy details from - your bank basically gives you a card (usually its combined with your debit or cash withdrawl card, I've never seen a standalone cheque guarantee card) which tells the retailer how much the bank will guarantee to pay in *any* event when they take your cheque, which circumvents people drawing cheques on empty accounts. No cheque guarantee card, no cheque accepted, simple.

That said, pretty much all of the UK retail base phased payment by cheque out in 2008/2009, so its pretty hard to find a place that will accept one these days anyway.

Re:Good Riddance (5, Informative)

McHenry Boatride (1661199) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470428)

Cheques aren't just used in retail. Many small businesses - builders, central heating engineers, and others of that ilk - accept, and prefer, payment by cheque or by cash. They don't want the extra expense of accepting credit cards, and not all customers have access to electronic funds transfer.

Some acceptable alternative, that doesn't involve having a computer of a rather insecure mobile phone, will need to be devised before phasing out cheques completely.

Re:Good Riddance (1, Troll)

hexed_2050 (841538) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470144)

I'd rather see the end to cash rather than cheques. I hate when people pay with cash.. sitting there holding up the line while they count their dimes and pennies, then end up dropping them. A card is so easy to use, swipe and done. One thing I don't like about cards is that they can track your purchases and locations.

Re:Good Riddance (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470232)

Disagree. My observations of the coffee line indicate that cash is much quicker than cards.

Exception being those women with gigantic purses that contain pennies buried somewhere deep inside.

Re:Good Riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470316)

How dare you talk about my mom like that! I'm going upstairs to tattle!

How do people pay eachother? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30469958)

If I wanted to buy a car from somebody, how would I do it? Right now the only reasonable options are PayPal, check, cash, or credit card. The only tender an ordinary person would accept for a car are cash and check, and most people wouldn't want to handle enough cash to pay for a car.

dom

Re:How do people pay eachother? (0)

TheWizardTim (599546) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470030)

Smart phone app?

Re:How do people pay eachother? (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470050)

That will work great for those without smartphones which is basically everyone I know.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (1)

mindstormpt (728974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470154)

You'll have met some new people by 2018, don't worry.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (5, Insightful)

remoford (520938) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470054)

I think you have stumbled upon the point.

You can't do a paypal or credit card transaction in person with a stranger without the blessing of someone else (paypal or visa). And if you are using a significant amount of cash, they will presume it is a drug deal or money laundering or something nefarious. Large cash transfers are already defacto illegal in the US (see what happens if you get pulled over and have 50,000 usd in the passenger seat) although I can't speak for the UK.

Governmental and corporate power is maximized when citizens can not do meaningful business amongst themselves.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470130)

Call your bank and tell them you want to transfer the money, so what are my options. There will be a way, and it'll be more secure than something stupid like taking 50,000 USD around. No "governmental or corporate" power required.

The weird thing is if you were allowed to carry around that kind of money and could make instant bank transfers of tens of thousands at the push of a button there'd be far more crime, and pleas for proper regulation. I'm actually kind of glad it takes a bit of effort to move $50,000 from my account to yours..

Re:How do people pay eachother? (5, Insightful)

remoford (520938) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470216)

That is precisely the point. One man's crime is another man's freedom.

You might not think I should be able to sell my car, on the spot, provided I've got the pinks, to someone who likes it at the drag strip on a whim.

I'll need a phone so I can ask someone else for permission first. To use my own money.

Maybe you think that is nefarious. I think freedom to conduct business ought be a fundamental right.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (3, Informative)

abigor (540274) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470146)

Bank transfers, Mr. Conspiracy Theorist. Cheques have been obsolete in much of Europe for years, yet there's no crushing dictatorship preventing people from giving money to one another.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470352)

For whatever reason, American banks don't make this easy for you. Probably make too much money from Visa via PayPal.

The other issue is just logistics. I wouldn't transfer $10,000 to some random craigslist guy for a used car only to have him disappear before he hands me the keys and title.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (4, Informative)

rve (4436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470458)

Bank transfers, Mr. Conspiracy Theorist. Cheques have been obsolete in much of Europe for years, yet there's no crushing dictatorship preventing people from giving money to one another.

Continental Europe here. Haven't used checks since the 80's, I didn't know they still existed. You used to put a bank transfer order in your bank's mailbox or mail it to them, but even that is something I haven't done this century, as it's so much more convenient to just enter a bank transfer order on your online banking web site.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (1)

stygianguest (828258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470520)

Much of Europe, except France. I actually had to learn how to write cheques when I came here, I only had vague childhood memories of my mother using cheques in the supermarket.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470524)

I've never had trouble transferring cash - sure, over 10kGBP I have to call - I can't do it directly online - but I transferred 52kGBP for a house deposit in one, short phonecall, the only hoops I had to jump through were knowing my security codes.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (4, Informative)

BorgDrone (64343) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470078)

> If I wanted to buy a car from somebody, how would I do it?

Transfer money from your bank account directly to theirs ?

Re:How do people pay eachother? (0)

Flentil (765056) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470236)

There are usually some unreasonably high fees associated with bank transfers like that. Checks are virtually free. Should it cost $20-$30 to make every transaction in the future when you could have wrote a check for free?

Re:How do people pay eachother? (3, Insightful)

justleavealonemmmkay (1207142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470292)

why should an electronic transaction be more expensive than a pen-and-paper order to a bank clerk to perform te exact same electronic transaction?

Re:How do people pay eachother? (4, Interesting)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470314)

There are usually some unreasonably high fees associated with bank transfers like that. Checks are virtually free. Should it cost $20-$30 to make every transaction in the future when you could have wrote a check for free?

There aren't such high fees in countries where that's the normal way to do business. Heck, you can do it for free in the US between many credit unions, including credit unions on other sides of the country. I've borrowed and repaid money to my family that way.

A check is nothing more than a bank transfer form with your account and other info written down on it. The only reason bank transfers cost money in the US is because they can. (Should you at this point have any surprise left at the fact that 90% of bank fess are set up to screw you instead of cover costs?)

Re:How do people pay eachother? (1)

ihavnoid (749312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470324)

Is it that expensive on (insert your country name)?

Well, in Korea, I can remember at least two methods - bank transfer (with something like 50c transfer fee) or credit cards (call the credit card company for a temporary raise of your limit, which can only be used for that specific purpose).

Actually, I can't remember when was the last time I paid anything more than $100 in cash.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470334)

I don't think I've *ever* had to pay fees when transferring money from one account to another in either the UK, Australia or Germany. I've paid fees when performing international transfers, but national transfers are generally free in these three countries.

I'm guessing you're talking about fees in the US. I'm here now, and I'll tell you what, the method to perform an electronic payment is quaint: Fill in the details, and the bank mails out a cheque to your desired recipient! I'm guessing this is something to do with the American desire for a verifiable paper trail.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470356)

I have never been charged for a bank transfer in the UK - and its a regular occurance between my group of friends, to pay for weekends away et all. Perhaps we are spoiled in the UK, I've heard too many horror stories and oddities about the US system, you guys just don't seem to have personal accounts setup as nicely as we do here.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470396)

There are usually some unreasonably high fees associated with bank transfers like that.

Change banks[1]. It's free with mine. In fact even international ones are, if it's within the SEPA [wikipedia.org]

[1] This may necessitate changing country. YMMV. VWP.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470496)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_Euro_Payments_Area [wikipedia.org]

It requires international transactions within the member countries to cost the same as national transfers. I don't know the details in every single country, but many don't charge fees for national transfers and hence, you can transfer money to any account in Europe for free.

In any case, using a credit card is probably the worst option. Aren't those fees too unreasonably high? Something like 4% on my card.
For international banks there are better options than PayPal btw.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470142)

If I wanted to buy a car from somebody, how would I do it? Right now the only reasonable options are PayPal, check, cash, or credit card.

How about a bank draft?

Re:How do people pay eachother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470180)

Are you suggesting that they would eliminate checks but not bank drafts? What's the difference?

dom

Re:How do people pay eachother? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470512)

I'm not suggesting, I know it for a fact. Here they phased out cheques (at least retailers stopped accepting them and my bank doesn't offer them) when the Euro came in. We got a bank draft to buy a house and it was several years later.

It makes perfect sense to go to the effort of shoving the paper around for big amounts - it's not like you buy a car or house every day. For a bag of potatoes not so much, the cost is proportionally so much higher.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470170)

Direct bank transfer. At least that's how you'd do it in Finland.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470176)

Electronic Fund Transfer? By this I don't mean Pay Pal, but rather through the Internet banking offered by most (South African) banks.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (3, Informative)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470186)

In my experience, people generally will not accept a personal check for an automobile. Cashier Check or Money Order.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470190)

Something like money orders perhaps?:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_order [wikipedia.org]

They're like checks (cheques in most Commonwealth countries), but prepaid. You pay the bank $x, and the bank issues you a money order promising to pay the person listed on the order $x. They've got most of the benefits of a check, but less of the risk for the recipient.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (3, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470228)

You get a Bank Draft, which is accepted as cash at any bank but for the purposes of the transaction is the same as a cheque - just a convenient single bit of paper. In the UK this is the main alternative to paying for a vehicle by financing - quite a few dealerships will not take several thousand in cash.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470442)

In America, would that be a cashier's check? But here, I think those are limited to $10,000 at most banks, if not all banks.

Paper "checks" have their purpose. They serve as a paper trail.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (1)

kauttapiste (633236) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470310)

I bought a sailboat last summer and we handled the money transfer by simply walking into a bank and asking the nice lady there to transfer the sum from my account to the seller's account!

Re:How do people pay eachother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470360)

You'd accept a check for a payment on something like a car?

You're game.

Re:How do people pay eachother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470384)

There are quite a few places in the world where checks are already extinct -- I remember last seeing a check about 15 years ago.

Astonishingly, people have managed to buy and sell cars without cash during this time...

Re:How do people pay eachother? (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470464)

Just transfer the money directly from account to account... It's easy, domestic transfers are usually free with the account (either via paper or online-banking), and there's a paper trail (albeit usually electronic).

I don't think I've even _seen_ a checkbook in the last 5 years...

Re:How do people pay eachother? (3, Interesting)

bbtom (581232) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470498)

That's exactly the right point. The Payments Council don't seem to have really thought out person-to-person transfers or small business transfers. If someone wants to pay me money using a cheque, all they need to know is my name (or the registered trading name of a business etc.). With a bank transfer, you need to know the bank account details of the person - and nobody is quite sure as to how public bank account numbers ought to be. Cheque still rules for getting paid expenses too. I've done the PayPal thing, which is cool - except PayPal take a slice of the transaction. I've done the online banking stuff and it's painful - crappy websites, no notification (how about an e-mail from my bank every time a transaction goes through my account? GPG exists, goddamnit - use it!), security designed for the sort of people who set their passwords to "password1" and tell all their idiotic friends their MySpace password and then wonder why they get "hacked". If you think writing a cheque is inconvenient, how about carrying a laptop and 3G dongle around with you in order to do bank transfers on the website instead?

Yeah, in shops, use a damn debit card. But for person-to-person transactions, cheques are pretty convenient. The security sucks, admittedly - a shared, public key that anyone can copy is not really security at all (a bit like credit cards: credit card fraud, at least until a few years ago, consisted of writing down the number and details that was given out to the merchant upon every purchase - that's real secure). But with cheques, you can post them - slip 'em inside birthday cards. You can give them to third parties (children, employees etc.) who can hand them to their eventual target. You can use them even where there isn't an Internet connection - and, well, outside of the big cities, there's plenty of rural countryside with no 3G service. You can post-date them, and the recipient can return them - my old school used to do this with their after-hours activity programmes - you'd give them half in a current-dated cheque and the other half in a post-dated cheque, so if you don't decide to finish the activity, they just return the second half of the payment.

The only problem with cheques is that I have to walk to the bank to pay them in and it costs the banks money to process them. The walk is quite good exercise, and since the banks got £300 billion of taxpayers money last year under the Special Liquidity Scheme, and they pay themselves HUGE FUCKING BONUSES, I figure the odd 25p here or there to process my damn cheques is pretty reasonable. Not to mention the huge amounts they've had in fees and fines - fines they've charged me due to the ineptitude of other banks (who have web security models designed for the aforementioned idiots). Not to mention interest they make off the money we keep in them. They seem to want to have it both ways: they argue that cheques cost a lot to process AND nobody is using them. But if nobody is using them, surely the number of people you need to employ processing cheques is pretty minimal.

While I'm ranting about banks, here's another thing: it's only in the last year that UK banks have actually got their shit together to be able to move money between accounts and it take less than four fucking days. A family member moves the housekeeping money from one account to another every month. He does this by going to one bank, drawing out however much it is (a few hundred pounds), walking down the street to the other bank and paying it in. Every time, the helpful bank assistant seems to suggest that he could do this electronically. The difference is, if you pay in cash, it is immediately available - while a BACS transer takes 3-5 days. They've only recently changed this so that it takes at most a few hours. But Christ-on-a-fucking-wheel, why did it take until 2009 to be able to move money instantly from one account to another? And it's still only certain banks that do the same-day transfers. These guys are absolutely retarded. With the billions they make every second, you'd think they'd be able to install a few broadband lines between their offices and make it so money can get transferred quickly. Three days - seriously?!

'Too big to fail' presumes the banks aren't the epitome of fail to start with.

Wrong (5, Informative)

hoofie (201045) | more than 4 years ago | (#30469962)

It isn't spelt 'checks' it's 'cheques' in the UK - for fucks sake get it right.

Re:Wrong (5, Funny)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#30469986)

This is a US site; it isn't spelled "spelt" it's spelled "spelled"!

Re:Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470020)

And yet, you use the British convention for the placement of exclamation points around quotation marks.

Re:Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470174)

More likely he's a geek and places the exclamation point inside if it's part of the quotation, and outside if it isn't. He isn't following a convention of "always in" or "always out" which would be lossy.

Re:Wrong (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470460)

It's the way I was taught all through school as well. The same thing applies (as I was taught) with the question mark and most other punctuation, although not with a period or comma. It just makes more sense that way rather than an always-in or always-out rule.

Re:Wrong (5, Insightful)

johnw (3725) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470376)

But it's a story about UK banks phasing out something, and the something which they're phasing out is "cheques". When UK banks talk about "checks" they're talking about the precautions they take against money-laundering and the like. I don't think they're going to phase out those any time soon.

Re:Wrong (0)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470422)

The article is about the UK.

Re:Wrong (5, Funny)

weeboo0104 (644849) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470012)

It isn't spelt 'checks' it's 'cheques' in the UK - for fucks sake get it right.

Don't you mean "for fuques sake"?

Re:Wrong (0)

Enleth (947766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470082)

He can't be British anyway, he'd say "bloody hell!" if he were...

Re:Wrong (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470132)

Send me your dictionary, and I will happily red-line it for you.

Re:Wrong (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470202)

They spelled it both ways in the summary.

Punctuated with a colon. (1, Troll)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470332)

It isn't spelt 'checks' it's 'cheques' in the UK - for fucks sake get it right.

I didn't know Slashdot comments came in wheat gluten-free versions now!

car analogy (1)

DavMz (1652411) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470440)

If you buy a british car in the US, you will get the steering wheel on the left side.
Same goes for spelling on a US site.

Oh, in case you don't know what a "steering wheel" is, it's what you call a "driving wheel".

Spelling nazi... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30469970)

It's cheque.

The Empire is a bit late to it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30469978)

In Sweden there this was done 10 years ago, welcome to the future UK!!

I thought they were already gone in EU (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30469990)

I hadn't seen a check in Finland for over 10 years. Then I come to US and find out it's the common way to pay bills. And transfers from bank account to another one are difficult or even impossible between two random people.

Re:I thought they were already gone in EU (4, Funny)

addsalt (985163) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470044)

And transfers from bank account to another one are difficult or even impossible between two random people.

You should try writing a check - works great.

Re:I thought they were already gone in EU (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470188)

How long does it take?

Re:I thought they were already gone in EU (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470472)

Usually the first $100 is available immediately, though it's subject to loss in case the account is overdrawn. Checks deposited when bank staff can still get to them (usually by 4pm, sometimes by as late as 6 or even 7) are usually processed that night, and funds available the next day.

This may not quite be the case anymore. Since the law changed not long ago and checks could be validated instantly, the money may be available (or not) within seconds or minutes. I haven't deposited a check in a couple of years, though, so I don't know.

Re:I thought they were already gone in EU (3, Interesting)

eggnoglatte (1047660) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470454)

Well, except that the recipient of the check has to run to the bank for the deposit instead of just verifying online that the money has arrived. Likewise, I have to hand-write a check for my rent every month, rather than just going online and clicking a button to transfer a pre-registered amount to a pre-determined destination account (or just setting up a completely automatic monthly transfer).

Banking in North America is so far behind Europe, it is not even funny. Quite an adaptation when I moved back to Canada.

Re:I thought they were already gone in EU (1)

Reisrdok (1361907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470126)

I also thought that checks were mostly gone after year 2000 :D I mean, I can access my bank accounts and make payments with my cell phone's browser, check seems kind of ancient. But I guess check has it's advantages then.

Re:I thought they were already gone in EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470164)

They are still used a lot in France, which was quite surprising for me moving here from Austria.

Re:I thought they were already gone in EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470244)

When I first moved to the UK I found cheques a curious anachronism. I have come to appreciate them a lot though.

For paying bills it is a fantastic way of doing it. It is an effective payment between two parties. Above all it does not involve a direct debit which every company tries to force you to set up - I have always refused those whereever possible since they effectively allow the company to have a direct line into your bank account. And all companies are behaving fair and ethically, right? And they would never, ever screw up their billing system, would they?

It is a pity. The cheque, whilst not perfect, has a good function.

Checks?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470002)

Surely the UK Payments Council want to phase out cheques?! Unless they do mean to finally do away with, say, checking cheques?

In ong run should just switch to digital cash (4, Interesting)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470052)

We have cryptographically secure algorithms for anonymous digital cash. These schemes are easy to implement using blind signatures. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_signature [wikipedia.org] . If properly implemented such a system provides far more anonymity than cash, checks, credit cards or debit cards. We really should be working to switch to such a system.

Re:In ong run should just switch to digital cash (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470158)

Above all else my money must be anonymous!

Re:In ong run should just switch to digital cash (2, Insightful)

seifried (12921) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470218)

Yeah, because governments that are supported by taxation of financial transactions are going to LOVE anonymous cash.

Re:In ong run should just switch to digital cash (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470254)

No.

The more the government tightens its grip, the more stagnant the economomy becomes. I believe they'll only push digital cash if the government can tax every red cent that it can. They first came for the gold in the 1930s and what was left were fiat greenbacks.

Now all that will be left are binary 1s and 0s?

Don't sign me up. I'll deal with the hassles of cash, thank you very much.

Oh, and replace the ridiculous and costly-to-administer-and-enforce tax system with something sane:
http://www.apttax.com/ [apttax.com]

Re:In ong run should just switch to digital cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470406)

Red cents are only worth two yellows. The blue coins are where it's at.

There will never be anonymous digital cash. (4, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470400)

We have cryptographically secure algorithms for anonymous digital cash.

But who wants that? The little people? Hah.

There are only two institutions that could create and support an anonymous cash-free financial system: the government and big financial institutions. Where is a motive for either one that is more juicy than the possibilities of being able to track every monetary transaction you engage in?

Privacy is a tool of the people to evade control by those with too much interest in their day to day lives. No one with power wants to give that to the common man, and if some of us little people got together to try to build a network for handling cash out of the government's and the banks' eyes, it would be tied up in anti-terror laws faster than you can say, "Hawala."

Honestly, cash is something that would not be allowed to be invented today if it didn't already exist and wasn't too hard to get rid of.

Rev.14:9-11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470056)

"The board of the UK Payments Council has set a date to phase out checks in a bid to encourage the advance of other forms of payment. "

A chip embedded in the hand would work best. ;)

No checks in Germany (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470100)

Germany phased out checks / cheques 4 or 5 years ago....with no negative impact at all.

Sounds Hard (3, Interesting)

pgn674 (995941) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470110)

Every month, I pay my landlord (a professor; I'm his only tenant) with a check. I wonder what system would replace that, that would be significantly different from checks, but that my landlord could accept?

Also, what if I run over someone's bicycle, and I want to give him a blank check to pay for it? Or, more realistically, what if I need to pay an individual that I have only just met more money than I have in cash? What system could replace that that would be significantly different from checks?

I guess it could be done, but it might take some creativity.

Re:Sounds Hard (3, Informative)

Thundarr Trollgrim (847077) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470152)

> Every month, I pay my landlord (a professor; I'm his only tenant) with a check. I wonder what system would replace that, that would be significantly different from checks, but that my landlord could accept?

A standing order.

> Also, what if I run over someone's bicycle, and I want to give him a blank check to pay for it? Or, more realistically, what if I need to pay an individual that I have only just met more money than I have in cash?

If you're going to give black cheques away to strangers, why not just give them your bank card and PIN?

As for the second situation, I'm sure your dealer can wait a day or two. ;)

Re:Sounds Hard (1)

Tacticus.v1 (1102137) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470252)

Every month i transfer funds to my flatmate with reference who then transfers to the account of our real estate agent takes 10 mins

before i moved out i transferred rent and board to my parents account each month same system 1 min work

bank transfer again for situation 2 or bank cheque (quite different from norm cheque)

Re:Sounds Hard (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470298)

In Europe you typically pay rent and regular services by either a Standing Order (your bank sends them a set amount of money on a set day) or a Direct Debit (the other party requests money from your bank and it gets paid - Direct Debit has an industry wide guarantee which allows you to claim back from your bank any incorrect amounts payed). I haven't used a cheque in 10 years.

Re:Sounds Hard (3, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470320)

Here in Australia direct bank transfers pretty much fill the niche not filled by cash. The other person gives you their bank account details. You use your bank web site to transfer money to the other account.

Re:Sounds Hard (1)

arctanx (1187415) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470434)

The main problem we have with that is that if the accounts are not from the same banking institution it takes a full two business days for the funds to be transferred. Within that time, the recipient has _no_ indication that funds have been approved or sent at all.

It would be great to have a faster and more transparent system for direct bank transfers.

Re:Sounds Hard (1)

koiransuklaa (1502579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470438)

Do you guys really not have direct bank transfers?
You can do that from any web browser (that you consider secure enough) or from a bank or from a bank machine that supports this.

With 15 years of experience of life without cheques, I can tell you the problem you imagine does not really exist.

Re:Sounds Hard (1)

pgn674 (995941) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470510)

Do you guys really not have direct bank transfers?

In the US, we don't have bank transfers, we have wire transfers. They cost $15-$25 on each end per transfer, and requires much proof of identity. I am jealous of your system, now.

With your system, can you give people money by only knowing their name, like you can with checks? I have to look up the spelling of my landlord's name every month in the school directory when I write my check (though I could set my bank to snail mail a printed check automatically every month). Do you need to know more than that, like the recipient's bank account number?

Re:Sounds Hard (1)

olman (127310) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470468)

I guess it could be done, but it might take some creativity.

Umm. No. Since most of the world can handle electronic cash transfers between banks without any hassle, there's hardly any creativity involved. Just copy the system of your preference from another country.

In most reasonable countries you can make money transfers between private accounts in an ATM. So if you're making a deal, take the guy to the ATM and give/show him the receipt of the transfer. Plus, you're going to make any deal involving reasonable money in writing, right? You can naturally do this online as well if you preferer.

Most commercial bills come with a pre-filled form you can take to a bank (if you're a granny with technophobia) or pay it on a machine or online. Bill has necessary details to make the bank transfer and a reference number that the recipients automated billing system can recognize.

In practise any semi-decent bank will let you set up a recurring payment to a private account as well so you don't have to bother to remember to do it every time when the rent is due.

Paper trail? Old fashioned people get a statement once a month on paper, rest have online account management which shows transfers for last 2 years or whatever. (and up to 5 years for a fee).

What's hard is waiting in line to turn in some daft piece of paper which is then scanned and sent as an image to a check clearing house.. At least these days they don't apparently send the physical piece around anymore which means your money is in limbo for weeks.

Does this include bank drafts? (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470140)

I can understand wanting to phase out personal cheques but a bank draft is a payment instrument that is drawn ahead of time into the account of the bank that issues it. How do they handle large purchases without at least a bank draft?

Re:Does this include bank drafts? (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470200)

Talking out of my hat, i doubt it has anything to do with bank drafts, which are really very different instruments in practice.

Re:Does this include bank drafts? (1)

bloobloo (957543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470484)

As you have to pay the bank for a draft, I don't think they will be eliminated.

One word, Paypal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470166)

What could possibly go wrong?

Disaster planning? (1)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470204)

What's the backup plan in case a massive solar flare fries our power and computing infrastructure? Have we reached the point where that's the end of civilization anyway? Or am I underestimating the ability of people to muddle through on cash an informal IOUs for a while in a pinch?

god damn yankees (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470212)

we call em cheques

oh and "how do people pay each other?" = in kind

Obligatory (2, Funny)

Himuanam (852822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470214)

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of slow-writing middle aged women suddenly cried out in terror.

Gold (4, Funny)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470224)

Gold is about the only thing that's going to be worth anything by 2018. Maybe they should be phasing out cash too.

Re:Gold (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470280)

I would rather see a shiny metal phased out first.

Whoever decided that gold should be basis of anything was a dumbass.

the US system is ridiculous if you've lived abroad (1)

supernova87a (532540) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470420)

I lived in the UK for 2 years, and let me tell you, despite a lot of things that are annoying over there, being able to transfer money easily is one thing they do well.

All you have to do is give someone your bank account and routing numbers, and they can send you money, for free. Your landlord, friend, etc. And yes, it's free. Why do we have to let Paypal make millions off of this lack of capability in the US?

For all the people in the US who worry about account security, isn't it funny, they don't seem to have problems with this system where you give your account number to someone else. Did you ever realize anyway, that every time you write someone a check, you're giving out your account numbers already? And the fact that we rely on paper checks that take days to be processed opens up way more fraud opportunities than electronic means.

The best thing was that it must have been mandated some time ago that every UK bank offer this, so every bank has to have free transfers in this way. I think it should have been required for the US banks in their bailouts -- as long as we're helping them out, they have to get rid of a system that does nothing but cost consumers fees. Think about it, if you could choose anew, would you have people transfer funds by writing pieces of paper (which by the way, cost like $0.20 cents each if you've looked at the cost of ordering checks) that you have to go the bank to deposit, take several days to clear, and might bounce? Why are we tolerating this middleman system? Why do we tolerate $35-a-pop overdraft fees as a surprise, when clearly they have the means to tell you right away if your balance is insufficient? Boo hoo, the banks will lose some profit from the decline in overdraft fees. Well, they shouldn't even be making huge profits off of those shady fees in the first place.

I read that there's one bank which lets you take a iPhone photo of checks someone gives you, and send in that image as the deposit. Or other banks that let you scan checks in at home and send them in via their website. At that point, why are we even having the checks? cmon people, let's not put up with this bullshit any more. Give us free transfer capability, honest information on our accounts, and no more idiots writing checks in supermarket lines. What, did you drive up in your horse and buggy?

sorry, this topic makes me grouchy about how behind the US is, and apologists who think it's fine and want to cut productivity-sucking banks any slack over it.

Money spinner (3, Insightful)

GumphMaster (772693) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470446)

Personal cheques are a purely a cost to the average bank, shuffling paper and checking signatures does not make them scads of cash. They'd dearly love to replace them with credit cards for which they get to charge an annual fee to the card holder, monthly and annual fee plus a percentage commission from the merchant, and any interest accrued by the card holder at the usual inflated rates, and all riding on the back of a process that is essentially automated (reduced staff costs). Even the direct deposit substitute is a good money spinner with limited numbers of "free" transactions per month before fees kick in, and charges for daring to use an ATM. What's not for a bank bean counter to like about this?

666 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30470480)

1. The worlds governments are banding closer together under the guise of AGW.

2. Loss of freedoms are happening in the western world and breakneck speeds.

3. The lure of socialism and what it promises.

4. Electronic payments only in the future.

5. Mark of the beast???

Once the cheques and bank notes are gone ... (1, Insightful)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470492)

Every transaction will be traceable by the "benevolent" power-that-be; not for anything but the purest of motives, of course.

Just from the absolutely ludicrous statement "... the board will be especially concerned that the needs of elderly and vulnerable people are met", which anyone with enough functional brain cells to form a synapse can tell is pure propaganda, you should know that there is another agenda entirely.

Non electronic money tranfer method (1)

AxeTheMax (1163705) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470506)

Let's look at cheques as non-electronic money transfers that are easily available to most people. Is it wise to phase out these? It assumes that there will be no breakdown in electronic methods of money transfer. What might happen with serious power failures, solar storms, war, or economic collapses? Will we have to revert to cash for everything, and is there enough of it?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...