Paying in and using cheques with cheque imaging

Introduction of a new, easier and quicker method of clearing cheques started in phases across the UK from 30 October 2017 onwards. Called the image clearing system, it will enable images of cheques to be exchanged between banks and building societies instead of the physical paper cheques currently used.

Sterling cheques that are imaged will clear faster than they do today meaning you’ll be able to access your funds in just two working days instead of six.

The cheque imaging service was introduced in M&S Bank in November 2018. This means that when you deposit a cheque, you will be able to access the funds by 23:59 on the next working day.

Once the image clearing system is fully implemented, if you have written a cheque, you will see the funds being debited from your account the next working day, therefore it is important the money is in your account when you write the cheque.

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     Day 1  - you deposit your cheque.
 
     Day 2  - the day your money will be available to be withdrawn by 23:59 and interest will start to accrue.

You will still be able to pay in cheques at an M&S Bank Branch or a HSBC Bank Branch in the UK as you do today.

Ensure you have funds available when you write a cheque

You need to ensure you have sufficient funds when writing your cheques, and until the cheque has debited your account, as it could be as quick as the next day. If there is not enough money to pay your cheque at the start of day we may try to pay it again at 1.30pm. If there is not enough money in your account, it may be returned unpaid. This will apply to all UK sterling bank cheques.

How your bank statement will change

Prior to cheque imaging you would have seen a cheque paid in as pending on your account until it had been cleared, and the process would take 2-6 days.

You will now only see cheques paid in when cleared rather than pending. If a cheque does not clear by 23:59 on the next working day, it is likely it has been returned unpaid and you will see a credit and debit cheque transaction. You will also receive a letter to explain the reason why the cheque was unpaid.

Stopping a cheque

You will no longer be able to put a stop on a cheque once the cheque has been presented for payment.

Representing a cheque

Return cheques will continue to be represented where applicable.

This will occur up to 4 times. Any charges applied will remain as today.

If a cheque is returned as unpaid, you will receive a copy of the image not the paper cheque as before. You should not try to represent a paper cheque as it will be rejected as a duplicate.

Special Presentations

This service will continue until cheque imaging is fully implemented then the service will be withdrawn.

Cheque imaging statement transactions

Paid cheques: Credit transactions will appear on the account by 23:59 on the weekday after the cheque is deposited.

Unpaid cheques: Credit and debit transactions will show on the account once an unpaid decision has been received by 23:59 on the weekday after the cheque is deposited and a letter will be sent advising the reason the cheque was unpaid.

Represents: Credit and debit transactions will show on the account once an unpaid decision has been received by 23:59 on the weekday after the cheque is deposited and a letter will be sent advising the cheque will be represented for payment.

FAQs

Why is this happening?

To improve the efficiency and speed of the clearing process for cheques. This improved method of clearing uses 21st century technology and means that cheques can continue as a sustainable means of payment for years to come.

How is this happening?

The new cheque imaging process will commence in phases across all banks from 30 October 2017. During this roll out phase, some cheques will clear quicker whilst others will follow the traditional timescales.