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Cheque changes could scupper some payments

29 September 2006
Tighter rules to be imposed on the way people write out cheques could mean several methods that would have been acceptable before will now result in a refusal.

Banks and building societies have agreed that cheques made payable only to the bank or building society name should no longer be honoured in an attempt to cut down on fraud. Only cheques made payable to an account number or the named account holder will be acceptable.

The new guidelines will be in place from September 30th and will assist in safeguarding the institutions from lost revenue and will prevent customers who have had cheque books duplicated or stolen from the heartache of losing money.

"The new arrangements reflect the importance that financial institutions place on fraud prevention," said Ian Mullen, chief executive of the British Bankers' Association.

"Although the instances where fraud has occurred in these particular circumstances are fortunately few, it is crucial that the industry continues to make life for the criminal as difficult as possible.

"The new measures are simple, but provide additional security when a cheque is made payable to an institution such as a bank or building society and follow good practice guidance that is included in the Banking Code."

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