Cheques seem quite old-fashioned in the 21st century; there have been attempts to phase them out, and they are used much less than previously (many businesses no longer accept them) but they still perform a useful function for many people.

You fill in the details of the payment you are making in your cheque book (the name of the person you are paying, the amount of the payment, the date) and sign it; you then either give it to the person or send it to them by post. You fill in the cheque stub to keep a record of the amount and date of the cheque. The person then pays it into their own bank or building society account – this may be some time later. It is only then that the money leaves your account.

Cheques are therefore slower than online payments or direct debits, and generally less convenient. You may still sometimes receive cheques, perhaps as presents from older relatives who don’t like using online banking, so you should know how to pay them in, by post or in a bank branch – check the arrangements in your own bank. Only accept a cheque from someone you know and trust.


Have a look at our other banking and money pages:

Bank and building society accounts – current accounts


Managing money
Manage your money