Cheques and cheque imaging

When a cheque in pounds is paid into your account it goes through a “clearing cycle”. This affects when funds will be made available to you, when interest starts to be earned and when you can be sure the money is yours.

If a cheque written in pounds is being paid into your account then you must complete one of your paying-in slips and send it with the cheque to CAPB Processing Centre, PO Box 12665, Harlow, CM20 9QP. If the cheque is being deposited into a US dollar or euro currency account then please indicate in your letter the account name and number you want the cheque to go into.

Cheque imaging – what’s changed?

The way we deal with cheques in pounds has recently changed. You can now 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 so we can process it faster (known as 'cheque imaging'). If you pay a cheque into your account on a working day, on the next working day you will start to earn interest and be able to withdraw.

Please note that not all cheques will be managed in this way until July 2019, the current paper system will still be used alongside the new one so some of your cheques will clear faster than others.

Until the new '1-2-2 timescale' is fully rolled out, cheques will be cleared in one of the following 2 timescales. We will keep you updated through our website on when the previous 2-4-6 timescale will be fully replaced by the new 1-2-2 timescale.

2-4-6 timescale

Funds paid in by cheque (in pounds) will follow the timescales set out below. The timescales will apply from the Business Day we receive the cheque. This will be on the day we receive it by post.

Day GB pound cheque received Day interest earned Day funds available to withdraw 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 3.00pm ’cut-off’ time. In some instances these funds will be available to withdraw from a cash machine on a Saturday.

Please note that cheques can be returned unpaid by the bank of the person who wrote the cheque even after those funds have been made available to you to withdraw. A cheque cannot be returned unpaid after the sixth Business Day following the Business Day that the cheque was paid in to your Account.

New 1-2-2 timescale

Day GB pound cheque received Day we allow you to withdraw money, interest is earned and you can be sure the money is yours
Monday Tuesday
Tuesday Wednesday
Wednesday Thursday
Thursday Friday
Friday Monday

Under this clearing system cheques will be paid in and cleared using an image of the cheque. So, if you want a copy of the cheque we will only be able to give you a copy of the imaged cheque. If you’re paying in a cheque and it’s returned unpaid, we won't be able to send the cheque back to you. We are also unable to re-present it and you’ll need to contact the person who sent you the cheque to request alternative payment.

Writing and paying in cheques

As cheques now clear faster it’s important to make sure you have enough funds in your account before writing a cheque as the money could leave your account as early as the day after you have written the cheque and given it to the recipient.

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.

Depositing foreign currency cheques

Please note there is a minimum value of £100 for processing foreign cheques. Any cheques below this value will be returned.

If you wish to pay in a cheque that is drawn in a currency other than pounds, regardless of the currency of your account, please send it to us at: Foreign Cheques Team (Cater Allen), Payment Operations, Santander UK, 2nd Floor Admin North, Bridle Road, Bootle, Liverpool, L30 4GB. You (the holder of the account) must sign all foreign currency cheques on their reverse before you send them to us. The signatures must be in accordance with the account mandate.

When we receive foreign cheques, we will send them for either “negotiation” or “collection” in order to receive the funds from the bank on which the cheque is drawn, regardless of the currency of the account you are depositing to. For more information on cheque collection and negotiation, please see our Guide to your Account document.

Please refer to the Banking Tariff for details of the collection and negotiation charges which apply. As part of this process, we will arrange for these foreign currency cheques to be converted to the currency of your account (where applicable). This conversion will be carried out at the exchange rate applicable to payments made into your account. Please visit caterallen.co.uk/resources/foreign-payments-and-currencies for details of today’s exchange rates.

How will I know when the new clearance timescales apply to me?

All banks will be taking a phased approach to rolling out Cheque Imaging and each bank will have its own plans. By July 2019 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.

Will I be able to scan my own cheques and send in the image?

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

Will cheques paid into my account clear in the same timescale as those debiting my account?

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 cheque imaging-process. You should continue to make sure that you have sufficient funds in your account when you write a cheque.

How will I know a cheque I have deposited has been paid?

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).

 

Will I still be able to cancel a cheque?

You will still be able to cancel 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.

How will unpaid cheques be returned to me?

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 we will send you a letter stating the reason why the cheque has been unpaid. We will not be able to return the unpaid cheque 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.