Online image-based cheque deposit


#1

Many UK high street banks are moving to image-based cheque clearing, and providing their customers with the possibility to take a photo of a cheque using their smartphone in order to deposit it into their account via the banking app.

It would be great if Revolut could offer this facility too, as every now and then, it’s impossible to dodge getting an old school cheque!


#2

Personally I would like more banks to offer no support for depositing cheques. They are an archaic method of payment that has no place in this day and age, and if an increasing number of banks don’t support cheques, then it will accelerate their demise and give a legitimate excuse for account holders to refuse to accept payment by cheque. Despite most developed countries having abolished cheques many years ago, some countries cling on to their use, namely the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Ireland.

If Revolut was to support image-based cheque depositing, which currencies and national banking systems would you suggest? Each country has a separate cheque clearing system, and supporting all of them would not be a trivial piece of development.


#3

I was only referring to being able to deposit Sterling cheques, which should be relatively straight-forward with the new image-based clearing system (no need for the piece of paper to leave the house). Even at a fee - I think it’s a service that’s needed as long as other banks are offering it, especially if Revolut wants people to make it their main account.

While cheques may be archaic, business and government (DVLA, HMRC, …) still issue them and often there is no alternative. I suspect that a small percentage of issued cheques never get cashed and that this is the reason why some institutions persist with them. I guess a direct transfer never gets lost and so they see it as a way of “saving money” in a slightly dishonest way (but who ever said that government was honest!).

While I agree with your assessment that cheques are rather archaic, there are nevertheless some uses for them that have no clear replacement. Examples are:

  • grandma slipping a cheque in with the birthday card (I don’t see them slipping in hundreds in cash notes or doing an online transfer)
  • large transactions, as it is a real pain to transfer (very) large amounts of money. It’s much easier to write 5 or 6 figures on a cheque.
  • when doing their groceries etc, some older people with dementia/Alzheimers don’t have a chance in hell to pay with a card (they forget the PIN, block the card, etc) but placing a signature on a cheque is often still doable for them. In France you’ll see a lot of old people still paying this way (the till prints everything on the cheque, they just need to sign it). In the UK this usage has disappeared a long time ago with the cheque guarantee cards, as UK cheques can easily bounce.
  • Cheques can be useful as a guarantee/deposit e.g. when renting something, especially between people rather than businesses, or when small operators are involved. Again I have seen this a fair bit in France (where cheques don’t normally bounce due to the consequences), I guess in the UK a cheque isn’t much of a guarantee of anything.

BTW the UK had initially planned to phase out cheques completely by 2018, but this was abandoned and now the statement is that cheques are here to stay indefinitely.

Anyway when you get a cheque you do need to cash it… particularly if there’s no alternative way to get the money. Unfortunately I still get more than a dozen cheques per year (I would much prefer to receive them by direct bank transfer, but alas, it’s not possible).


#4

After 1 year of using Revolut Premium, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is just too much missing to use Revolut as a main account. I’ve cancelled my premiium membership and will continue to use Revolut occasionally for the things that it’s good at - foreign currency transactions. But the main thing I’ve learned is how good the big banks really are as compared to Revolut. They offer statements, real customer service, 3D secure transactions, you don’t get stuck at a toll gate, they cash cheques, allow free ATM withdrawals, don’t limit the amount of funds flowing through the account, their bank transfers always arrive, their cards always work, they have deposit protection, you can call them, email them, and more…
Still, I hope one day Revolut will catch up. The app and the real-time transactions, the forex, are very cool. It will also be cool when they finally launch in Australia, the US, HK/SG and you can receive local payments there. However this was initially announced for Q1 2018, now it is Q1 2019, who knows when (or if) it will actually happen.


#5

Hmm very interesting @jdp . I like too, to use cheques and pay with it. Actually its really great if Revolut create their own cheques in order to pay everywhere in case some countries are cash only, or in case the stores POS is broken. Trust me its really helpful.


#6

The problem is that you are looking at this from a UK-centric point of view, and forgetting that Revolut is not a UK-centric product. If Revolut starts supporting image-based depositing of UK cheques, then it would have to do the same for other countries’ unique national cheque clearing systems. With Revolut’s future launch in the United States where cheques remain even more prevalent than in the UK, Revolut would also have to support the US system.

You suggest that there could be a fee. If you consider the development cost of such a service and then divide it by the tiny number of Revolut customers who prefer to deposit cheques (instead of asking the payer for a bank transfer), then it’s going to be a very high fee, which would be cost-prohibitive, in most cases more than the amount of the cheque.

I have no doubt that some organisations issue cheques instead of bank transfers for exactly the reasons you give. It is a disingenuous practice. The solution is not to bow down to these organisations by asking modern deposit takers such as Revolut to accept cheques, but instead for the payee to refuse to accept cheques from these organisations by saying plausibly something along the lines of “My bank doesn’t support cheques. Please send me a bank transfer or cash”.

I have not received a cheque from HMRC for over 20 years. They use bank transfers now unless you forget to give them your sort code and account number, but I do agree that the DVLA is one of the worst culprits for continuing to insist on the use of cheques for both paying and receiving.


#7

I agree with @NFH. The check is an old way for payment, if you want to be present on the new technology, dont spend time for old ones. But the least Revolut could do, and maybe it is already possible, is to allow UK customer to send their check wherever the money is actually stored (Loyd or Barclay), and credit the Revolut account owner with the money (without fees if possible but the process may have costs).
In Canada, you can cash in a check that is not addressed to you (I guess you get trouble you were not allowed to do so) and it make few things easier.


#8

That’s not a bad idea. It would work similarly to paying a credit card bill in the 1980s and early 1990s, whereby you had to visit a bank with a paying-in slip and a cheque. I say this because the payee reference has to be quoted, which is the card number for a credit card or the Revolut account number for Revolut. But I would prefer all banks to stop supporting cheques, because then it would make it easier for payees to refuse to accept them.