Monday, 20 October 2008

A letter from the bank - Part II

I have just had a letter from the HSBC pointing out that my new debit card will no longer be a cheque guarantee card. They argue that a cheque guarantee card is now totally unnecessary. This, I suspect, is a way of saying cheques are shortly to be phased out as well. I’m not a great one for all the conspiracy theories that Jo often comes up with but I definitely smell a rat on the thin end of this wedge!

I am reminded of the article by Nick Parker in The Oldie magazine in which he commented on the way in which we accept so much change in our lives because of the cunning and stealthy and slow way in which it is introduced. “If you throw a bunch of frogs into a pot of boiling water, they’ll leap straight out. If you put them in a pot of cold water then gradually turn up the heat, they’ll happily sit there while they boil to death.”

It is the bank’s contention that there is no need for a cheque guarantee card because traders take Mastercard and since the guarantee card is not valid for cheques sent by post it is superfluous. I wonder what traders at craft fairs, flea markets and places where a telephone line is unavailable think of that. Or what about the person to person transaction. Are we going to have to go back to carrying cash everywhere in case we see a rather nice amethyst crystal at a fair in the church hall? If someone comes to buy my bike can I no longer accept a cheque because he cannot produce a guarantee card. Or perhaps the bank are expecting all of us to have the facility to accept Mastercard (and pay the fee which is inherent in so doing).

Ironically, if Lloyds TSB follow suit and then end up phasing out cheque books as well, one of the first people to suffer will be Lloyds TSB! I have an ASDA credit card which I pay off by cheque each month. It’s the only one I do that way; the others are all done by on-line transactions. Why do I use a cheque? Because the Lloyds system won’t recognise the trading name of the credit card company (a Lloyds subsidiary) as an acceptable payee!

Goodbye cheque book, it was nice knowing you.

1 comment:

  1. I hardly ever use cheques. I have just looked and discovered that my current bank card doesn't guarantee cheques. Ironically the last HBOS cheque I issued was to HBOS for (now worthless) HBOS shares. It's a funny old world.


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