Author: David Webber
Implementing the best solutions in mobile banking
David Webber, Managing Director at Intelligent Environments, explains why a review of cheque deposit regulations is set to benefit banks, customers and businesses.
The world’s first cheque dates back to 550BC, when it was known as the Chek to the Persian Empire. Fast forward a few thousand years, and this method of payment still occupies a prominent role in commerce, with HM Revenue and Customs, charities, employers and individuals alike still using it. With 2014 now well underway, a review of regulations will likely see its life extended as it is brought in to the digital age via the adoption of a smartphone cheque deposit system.
In 2013, Intelligent Environments launched a campaign urging the Treasury to allow smartphone cheque deposits. Until recently, British banks have been unable to implement the best solutions in mobile banking, unlike their stateside counterparts, due to outdated legislation. However, George Osborne’s Christmas announcement that regulations would be reviewed, a move which has been well received by the financial services sector, demonstrates a success for consumers.
The Treasury’s Financial Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed that “this government is determined to create a banking sector that works for consumers and serves businesses.” As a result, Barclays will pioneer the UK introduction of smartphone cheque deposits later this year, replicating JP Morgan’s US launch of the technology in 2009.
One of the main inconveniences associated with the cheque is the hassle of having to physically visit a branch to deposit it. This will no longer be an issue as users will be able to photograph their cheques and send them instantly via smartphone to their bank. As well as making the system more convenient for consumers, it will also mean banks can dedicate more time to other important client services.
With £840 billion worth of cheques processed in 2012, this improvement in banking efficiency stands to save a significant amount of money and resources. Of all sales made by SMEs in 2012, 25 per cent were paid by cheque. Those businesses using cheques regularly will see the impact of this increased efficiency straightaway as the traditional six day cheque clearing cycle will be reduced to just two days.
Barclay’s Managing Director Steven Roberts claims that the new system will make banking technology as easy as downloading a book or film, with the trusted cheque now able to compete with the rapidity and convenience of the latest online banking methods.
This change in legislature stands to confound sceptics’ predictions that mobile and online banking advancements spell the end of the cheque. The New Year sees banks and the government understanding the need for inclusive technology that acknowledges the perspective of all of its users to integrate both reliable current methods with the latest technology.