On Wednesday 16th December 2009, the UK Payments Council came to a decision regarding cheque payments, as explained in this press release. It’s important to note that the situation isn’t quite as simple as some places have reported; it’s not just a case of “cheque payments to end by 2018, full stop” – there’s slightly more to it than that; the goal is to phase out cheque payments while encouraging the use of other methods, but there’s a possibility that it might not be feasible to do so, hence the “go/no go” decision scheduled for 2016.
However, that isn’t the topic of this item – just the inspiration; when reading about the decision to try to phase out cheques it set me to thinking about some of the problems I see when companies make payments to suppliers (some of which apply to cheque payments as much as to any other form of payments). The general problem is that of a lack of identification and clarity – while I see many payments clearly identified in terms of who they are from (or for) and what they are paying, I do see some which lack that information and this leads to time wasted establishing that information. The most common problems I see tend to be one of three: