Cheques still vital to farm businesses

Farmers use cheques to make almost 40% and to receive more than 44% of payments.

These figures from the NFU’s banking survey add weight to the union’s campaign to keep the cheque payments system.

Cheques are under review by the UK Payment Council which manages the UK’s payment industry and which has outlined a timetable for abolishing the cheque by the end of October 2018.

“The Treasury Select Committee made it clear the government will stop the Payment Council if they try and do away with the cheque if alternatives that are better for users haven’t been developed,” said NFU economist James Edwards.

Any alternative to the cheque needed to be better than cheques in terms of ease of use and cost, warned Mr Edwards. “We feel that it is now impossible for the Payments Council to go against public and business opinion and abolish the cheque.”

The NFU will sit on a panel to influence Payment Council activities and is looking for farmers and growers who can test alternatives to the cheque as they are developed.

NFU Scotland has also called on the Payments Council to abandon its plans to abolish the cheque. Despite plans to extend rural broadband, online methods of payment were not universally available or popular across rural Scotland, it said.

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