Cheque, mate?

I got out my cheque book this morning to pay a couple of bills.

Cheques are a bit of a rarity now, although it’s still how I pay the milkman. And many of the small voluntary groups I support prefer payment by cheque. But for most payments, cheques are a thing of the past. Sainsburys is just one example; they stopped taking cheques last year. After all with the ease of debit cards and online banking, why not?

In the days when computers had their own room, I started university not with a laptop but a typewriter. Now typewriters are museum pieces; my colleague Neil was telling us the other day how he had to explain typewriters to his young nieces when they saw some in an exhibition. As a language student, I remember we had recordings of spoken French to transcribe from a cassette tape which would be passed round the group. Much easier to download the relevant mp3.

I think cheques will survive a little longer, if only for sending birthday money. When they do disappear, I’ll miss the old linguists’ joke: in the US you pay your check with a bill, but in the UK you pay your bill with a cheque.

And they’ll be missed from political rhetoric too. We like to remind people that Gordon Brown ‘signed the cheques’ for the Iraq war. Somehow saying he ‘swiped his card’ doesn’t have the same ring to it.



  1. Martin Land said

    Actually, Bridget, the only time I use cheques now is to pay printers, print societies, etc as an Agent, mainly because I need everything to be traceable.

    Could political parties and their agents be the last people to use these old-fashioned methodologies and what does that say about the political process?

  2. barbara short said

    i work at a after school club and a lot of our parents pay by cheque it better for them as some pay monthly

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