Peter Hough

Peter Hough
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Friday, 25 March 2011

Customer care-less

I have to admit that I don't use my cheque book like I used to. But that doesn't mean I could do without it. There are times when a cheque will do and nothing else.

We often stay on farms - where a cheque is ideal
Sending money with a birthday card is one example. Who would be mad enough to put a couple of tenners in an envelope? When we go caravanning, we often stay on small 5 van sites, which are usually farms or half an acre at the side of someone's cottage. Unless you're stuffed with cash, a cheque book is the only way to pay your site fees.

It is scandalous then that the banks are planning to start the process to abolish cheques, in 2016. They say that cheques are in terminal decline, but as a nation we are writing 4 million a day - so there's obviously still a great demand.

If they get their way it will leave the elderly, small businesses, charities and social clubs high and dry.

The electronic alternatives of using the Internet or debit and credit cards will hit charities with a double whammy of a drop in donations and high processing charges. It's all about choice - and not everyone wants to set-up direct debits.

Without the choice of using a cheque, small businesses will receive payments mainly through credit cards - with their rip-off bank charges. And what of social clubs and societies who like to take their subscriptions by cheque?

Age Concern and Help The Aged have voiced worries that elderly people, robbed by the banks of their cheque books, will resort to hoarding cash at home, which will encourage burglary.

We are running a campaign to get the Prime Minister to put pressure on the banks, and I am collecting signatures on a petition in our area.

There has been a petition in our Focus newsletters delivered in Victoria Ward and Manor Ward, and we have received hundreds of signatures. We have decided to print the petition again in the next issue of the Victoria Ward Focus. If there is anyone from outside the area who would like to add their names - I can email them a petition for them to print, sign and return. Give me your contact details below by pressing COMMENTS.

When are the banks going to serve the needs of the customer - and not themselves? When will they get it?

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