Harrods stop taking cheques

The scrapping from 1 July of the cheque guarantee card, which meant a customer's cheque would be honoured up to £100, is seen by many as the final nail in the coffin of cheques, which have been on the decline for many years.

Most supermarkets stopped taking cheques in 2006, and now Harrods has decided to do away with cheque usage as well. A spokesperson for the department store said of the move: 'Of course, the ending of the card is an indication of the usage of cheques declining.

'We kept cheques going for as long as possible, because a small number of customers continued to use them. But the numbers are so minimal now that we are confident very, very few people will be inconvenienced.'

But many think that the phasing out of cheques and the scrapping of the cheque guarantee card would disproportionately affect the elderly, who are the predominant users.

Michelle Mitchell, charity director at Age UK said: 'Older people regard cheques as a safe and secure way to pay for goods and services. The demise of the cheque guarantee card means that there will be even fewer places accepting cheques and older people are more likely to revert to cash which brings its own problems.

'One in five older people are already using other people to draw out cash for them and this will leave some of them with no option but to hand over their PIN numbers and cash cards to others, going against the guidance given by banks.'

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