Barclays expands cheque imaging service

Barclays extends the ability to pay cheques into accounts via a smartphone to more customers

Barclays is extending its cheque imaging service to almost one million people, half of which use Android devices.

The bank said since the pilot launched in June 2014, 30,000 customers had deposited  around £750,000.

The service is available in Barclays's mobile banking app and allows cheques worth up to £500 to be paid in online by taking a picture of the cheque on a smartphone. It also aims to cut cheque processing time from six to two days. 

“Our customers have welcomed this convenient way of depositing one of the oldest forms of payment, which is why extending to Android phones is an important step forward in giving all customers the ability to pay in cheques using their mobile devices,” said Ashok Vaswani, personal and corporate banking CEO of Barclays.  

In 2013 analyst Forrester estimated that US bank Redstone Credit Union saved $3.60 (90%) of the cost of processing each cheque by enabling mobile deposit transactions. This means that, while a branch transaction costs around $4.00, the equivalent digital transaction would only cost Redstone Credit Union $0.40 to process.

The UK processes 750 million cheques a year and – while in decline – the humble cheque will play a part of the UK economy for many years. The costs of processing paper-based cheques makes a clear case for digitising the process, but legislation has held back the implementation of digital cheques in the UK so far.

Bank branches are closing across the country as banks renege on their promise to keep branches open, blaming changing consumer habits and the move to digital technology.

Digital developments such as this demonstrate how technology is reducing the need for customers to visit bank branches. A Computer Weekly survey of IT industry professionals found the main reason most people go to the bank is to pay in cheques.

Read more about cheque processing

  • The UK government is expected to make the digital image of a cheque legal tender, paving the way to end paper cheque processing.
  • Barclays Bank pilots a scheme allowing customers to pay cheques into their accounts via pictures taken on their mobile phones.
  • Lloyds Bank is to allow customers to pay cheques in through their smartphones.

Read more on IT for financial services

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