in 1659, the first British cheque (for £10) was written by Nicholas Vanacker and is now in the archives of the National Westminster Bank.
Given all the ways of transferring money and paying for goods it is surprising how many people still use them. We have friends who only use cheques and often write them for as little as a few pounds. I suppose this will get harder as more shops and garages refuse to take them. Here's a few facts on cheques:
There were just over 4.9 million cheques issued each day in 2006, compared to 11 million in the peak year for cheque volumes, 1990. By 2016 there will be only 2.5 million per day.
In 2005 each adult made 1.6 cheque payments per month, compared with 4.3 per month in 1991.
The typical adult receives less than seven cheques on average per year.
Only 5 million adults still use guaranteed cheques on a regular basis, compared to 16 million in 1996.
Women make almost 52% more guaranteed cheque payments than men.
Only one in eight regular bills is paid by cheque, compared with one in three as recently as 1995.
By 2015 personal cheques will account for only 2.3% of all non-cash payments made by individuals.
The average value of a personal cheque payment is £223.
Only 4% of retail spending by value is still paid by cheque, compared with over 60% by debit or credit card.
Business cheque use peaked in 1997. Since 2001 business-to-business cheques have seen rapid decline as businesses increasingly move to the use of automated payments for their trade suppliers.