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Consumer Skills
29th June 2011


As from tomorrow (30 June) the cheque guarantee scheme in the UK will end . However, this does not mean the end of cheques; consumers will still be able to write them and businesses will be able to choose to accept them. But from tomorrow, when you write a cheque it will no longer be guaranteed for payment.

Maeve Holly, Senior Consumer Affairs Officer at the Consumer Council said, “For many people in Northern Ireland, cheques are a convenient and easy way to pay for good and services.  When the decision to close the scheme was taken in 2009, over a quarter of all debit cards did not have a cheque guarantee function.[1]

For any consumer who is concerned about the removal of the guarantee scheme, there are many other ways you can make a payment:  you can use your debit card, give a cheque without a guarantee, pay by cash, set up a direct debit, or make an online or phone banking transfer.  When you are accepting cheques, make sure they are from a trusted source.”

Notes to Editors:

The Payments Council – the body responsible for setting strategy for payments in the UK – has decided that due to the decreasing use of guaranteed cheques[2], it would be better for all parties if its decline and demise was coordinated by setting a closure date.  This decision was made following consultation with businesses and customers.

Northern Irelandconsumers with a cheque account should have been notified by their bank or building society that the cheque guarantee scheme is ending.  Some banks have not re-issued new bank cards but may do this when the existing card expires. 

Northern Bank All customers notified.  Issued leaflets in the last few months and staff have been trained on the changes
Ulster Bank Leaflet on changes to account, including cheque guarantee scheme
First Trust Statement insert
Bank of Ireland Letter and leaflet











  1. Consumer Council media contact: Irene Overend, telephone, 028 9067 4816 or 07825 147496 or e-mail,
  2. The Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland’s consumers. The Council campaigns for high standards of service and protection and a fair deal for all. It also carries out research, gives advice and publishes reports and other publications. It deals with individual complaints about buses, trains, planes, ferries, natural gas, electricity, coal and water.
  3. For more information, visit our website at

[2]Last year, of the 1400 million cheque transactions, just under 7 per cent or 95 million were supported by a cheque guarantee card; the number is falling rapidly.