Cheques and cheque imaging

What’s changed?

The way we deal with cheques is changing so that you’ll be able to get your funds by 11:59pm at the latest on the next working day.

When we receive a cheque we’ll take a digital picture of it. This means we’ll be able to process cheques faster, so that when you pay a cheque into your account on a working day you’ll be able to withdraw and earn interest on the money from the next working day, even if the cheque is from another bank or building society.

This change is a phased approach and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Initially, this change won’t affect all customers, so until the rollout is complete the current paper clearing system will still be used alongside the new system.

New 1-2-2 timescale

Day sterling cheque paid in Day funds available, interest earned and you can be sure the money is yours
Monday Tuesday
Tuesday Wednesday
Wednesday Thursday
Thursday Friday
Friday Monday

Writing and paying in cheques

As some cheques have started to clear faster it’s important to make sure you have enough funds in your account before writing a cheque.

If you’re writing a cheque to another person and the cheque is not paid, other banks may represent the cheque on more than one occasion. If the cheque is not paid after this, you may be contacted to make the payment by alternative means.

If you’re paying in a cheque and it’s returned unpaid, we’ll send an image of the cheque to you. It will not be represented and you’ll be required to obtain payment from the payee by alternative means.

2-4-6 timescale

Day sterling cheque paid in Day interest earned Day funds available Day you can be sure the money is yours
Monday Wednesday Friday Following Wednesday
Tuesday Thursday Monday* Following Thursday
Wednesday Friday Tuesday Following Friday
Thursday Monday Wednesday Following Monday
Friday Tuesday Thursday Following Tuesday

*Assuming funds are deposited before 3pm ’cut-off’ time. In some instances these funds will be available to withdraw from an ATM on a Saturday.

We will keep you updated through this page on when the 2-4-6 timescale will be fully replaced by the 1-2-2 timescale.

FAQs

All banks will be taking a phased approach to rolling out Cheque Imaging and each bank will have its own plans. Towards the end of 2018 all cheques paid in, and written out, will use the new system. You should continue to make sure that funds are available in your account at the time that a cheque is issued.

This service is not currently available, but it’s something that we plan to introduce in the future.

During the implementation phase, the timescale that it takes for cheques to be credited or debited will depend on when the cheques are paid in and whether the cheque is processed using the old paper-based process, or the new imaging-process. You should continue to make sure that you have sufficient funds in your account when you write a cheque.

For cheques processed under the paper-based system, this continues as at present. For cheques processed under the image clearing system, this will be when the value of the deposit is included in your available balance.

The new image clearance process means that you can be sure that cheques will be processed by the end of the next working day following the cheque being paid in on a working day (for Postal Deposits this will start from date of receipt).

You will still be able to put a stop on a cheque. However, if a cheque is presented for payment immediately after issue, and goes through the new imaging process, then this may be already paid. We will continue to use fraud prevention measures to make sure cheques are accurately identified and approved, as we do today.

If a paper cheque is presented under the paper-based system, and is to be returned unpaid, the physical cheque will be returned to you, as it is now. If only an image of the cheque is presented, and is to be returned unpaid, then only a copy image of the unpaid cheque will be returned to you. You will then need to request a new cheque, or alternative payment from the original issuer of the cheque. Likewise, you may be asked to issue a new cheque or make an alternative payment.