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Firms cut cheque use faster than public

Tuesday, August 19 10:27:57

Businesses in Ireland are cutting their usage of cheques to make payments faster than the general public, according to new research from the Central Bank today.

The research shows that, as cheque volumes continue to decline, business cheque usage is reducing faster than consumer usage. Ireland is now one of only six EU member states that use cheques for regular payments.

Cheques issued in Ireland are projected to be 61 million in 2014, down from 69 million in 2013 and from 132 million in 2005. Based on the survey, cheques issued by businesses will be an estimated 28 million in 2014, down from 33 million in 2012. Consumer-issued cheques are also falling, from 26 million in 2012 to an estimated 23 million in 2014.

The analysis shows that of all cheques, businesses issue 47pc, slightly higher than in 2012, but are recipients of 43pc, down considerably from 50pc in 2012. SMEs account for 80pc of these in each case. Consumers issue 37pc of all cheques, up 2pc since 2012, and receive 49pc, up from 44pc in 2012.

It found that 66pc of all business cheques issued are for E1,000 or less while 41pc of cheques issued by consumers are for E100 or less. The public sector issues 11pc of cheques the vast majority of which are social welfare payments.

Programme Manager of the National Payments Plan Ronnie O'Toole said: "While businesses, small businesses in particular, remain the largest user group of cheques, it is clear that businesses are recognising the benefits of electronic payments and are now leading the migration away from cheque usage."

"For a small business, or indeed any business, costs include 50c stamp duty on each cheque, bank charges, postal charges as well as administration and processing costs."

The National Payments Plan, though not setting an end-date for cheques in Ireland, is targeting a significant reduction from present levels. Next month's e-Day sees another step in this process when, from September 19th, public sector bodies will no longer issue or accept cheques in their dealings with businesses.

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