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In a poll of its 550 members, a clear majority (62%) of the association's dealers who responded said that cheques were used as the method of payment for over half their sales, and an even higher proportion (80%) used cheques to pay at least half of their suppliers when buying stock and paying bills.

While the threat of the withdrawal of cheques has now receded following a U-turn by the Payments Council this summer, the results give credence to those who voiced opposition to the planned ending of cheques in 2018.

LAPADA pointed out that, as with all surveys, those who responded tended to be the ones most affected by the issue in hand, but nevertheless 68% of respondents considered the cheque very important for their business and three-quarters were against its demise.

Interestingly, the most common use of cheques by dealers was for buying and selling at auction, where cheques accounted for 59% of all transactions. This was followed by shop sales which averaged 45% of transactions, although a third of those who responded said that cheques accounted for 75% of shop sales.

After cheques, the most commonly used method of payment was credit and debit cards which accounted for 30% of transactions.

Cash was only used for 7% of transactions amongst the LAPADA members who completed the survey which, perhaps surprisingly, was less than both internet banking (8%) and bank transfers (11%).

The survey also indicated that mobile phone banking and pre-paid credit cards were yet to find favour with the trade. A majority of dealers who responded reacted negatively to the idea of using them as a future alternative to cheques.

By Alex Capon