Float through any social event with M's fast facts. This week Nadia el Dasher says farewell to cheques
THE BASICS The Payments Council Board, the body that oversees the way bank payments are made within the UK, has announced that the central cheque clearing system will end by October 31, 2018. The idea that a centuries-old method of payment would become redundant led to uproar among the British, who tend only to care about something when they think it is to be taken away from them. THE HISTORY Cheques are one of the oldest methods of payment, dating back to ancient Rome. They were hugely popular from the 1950s to the 1990s but have been superseded by the rise of debit cards and online banking. Banks don't like them because they cost a lot to process. But many small businesses still rely on them, as do the older generation: receiving a cheque in a birthday card from your grandma is every child's right.
THE INEVITABLE The cheque will undoubtedly fade into oblivion, because where the UK leads the world will follow. Already, South African banks have started to investigate whether or not they should follow suit. Those uncomfortable with plastic and/or online banking will be keeping larger amounts of cash under their mattress. THE CONVERSATION How are lottery winners and charities receiving big donations going to pose for the cameras with a computerised wire transfer?