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UK companies urged to tackle escalating £1.5 billion computer downtime problem

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Private and public companies in the UK will spend more than £5 billion on buying in the latest computer technologies and systems by the end of 2010 – but many will fail to implement procedures in the workplace that reduce the risk of human error causing damage to their single most important business tool.

Research conducted by e-Solutions, one of the UK’s leading fraud prevention, internal audit and compliance consultancies, reveals human error accounts for 56% of all total system downtime and data loss, and the financial services, manufacturing, telecommunications and healthcare sectors are more at risk than any other.

Central and local government also regularly experiences significant problems in this field, many of which can be eliminated if senior managers applied a degree of foresight to develop contingency plans that deal with all likely crisis situations.

“In an age when we can perform technological feats that would have been regarded as miracles only a few years ago, today many organisations cannot answer the very basic question: who last accessed our company server – and what did they do?” said Angus Stewart, chief executive of e-Solutions.

“The problem of ensuring a company’s computer system works properly at all times is exacerbated by the increased dependency on outsourcing, offshore consultants, temporary employees and IT staff that administer technologies purchased from a number of competing suppliers.

“In my experience, this brings about a significant decrease in direct accountability.”

To tackle the problem, and avoid reputation damage and costs estimated to be in the region of more than £1 billion annually, Angus Stewart is advising IT Directors to develop a holistic view of their entire IT infrastructure. This includes developing a facility that enables them to monitor the human factor through a process known as People Auditing.

“People are a system’s greatest strength – and they are also its greatest weakness,” added Angus Stewart.

“Members of staff, particularly members of IT teams, can unwittingly create the most damaging problems that bring companies to their knees. In such circumstances, it’s important a company’s IT team can quickly get to the cause of the problem – and rectify it.

“Unfortunately, many public and private sector organisations have not made any provision to track and monitor the activities of their people, particularly in their IT teams. This omission in their planning is a serious oversight and will lead to continued problems and frustrations – unless it is rectified.”

“Thorough People Auditing demonstrates that employees and partners are meeting established guidelines for information access, transaction integrity and intellectual property protection. It will also protect a business far more effectively – and that’s got to be a good thing.”

If you would like discuss how our Debt Recovery/Debt Collection service can assist your business, please visit the ‘Debt Recovery/Debt Collection’ section on our website,  contact us on +44 (0) 151 515 3014 or email us.

Please note: Information in this blog post is content property of Business Credit Management UK (www.creditman.co.uk)  and the full original article can be found by clicking here.

Commercial Debt Collection Service – A Complete Guide to Hiring a Quality Assured Recovery Agency

Monday, December 6th, 2010

It is common practice among businesses to extend credit to customers to earn goodwill and improve sales.  If customers do not pay their debts on time or try to get out of paying, debts can turn into a heavy expense.  Bad debts, if not dealt with immediately, can accumulate and become a black mark on a company’s balance sheet.  This can seriously harm a company’s credit worthiness.

Companies usually deal with bad debts by authorising in-house personnel to collect debt or outsource the job to a commercial collection agency, such as CBC International.  Collecting bad debt is a time-consuming process that requires timely follow-up and accurate record keeping.  A commercial collection agency is often a better option than an in-house system as it is can be more professional, cheaper and provides better results.

Commercial collection agencies employ skilled professionals.  These professionals are trained in the art of debt collection.  Depending on the type of debtor, the collection agency will come up with a strategy for collecting debt.  The approach followed is respectful and considerate of the financial obligations of the customers.  This enhances the customer’s relationship with the collection agency

Advantages of hiring a collection agency

There are many advantages to hiring a collection agency.  With a commercial agency working for your business, you can:

  • Focus on your business plans without the worry of collecting your outstanding accounts
  • Have good customer relationships as collection agencies are professional and respectful
  • Save the expense of in-house salaried personnel
  • Recover more debt as the majority of collection agencies work on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis meaning that they are incentivised to recover as much as possible.
  • Safeguard your business from any potential legal misunderstandings as any good quality collection agency will be familiar with the relevant debt collection rules and regulations

Points to consider before hiring a commercial agency

Some collection agencies violate regulations to recover more outstanding debt, in order for them to recover extra fees however, this can often not just lead to violation of the law and industry guidelines, but also ruinous to your business reputation.  Ensure that the individuals who represent your company to the customers are well-trained, professional and hold the necessary certification to recover commercial or consumer debt.

A good rapport between debtors and creditors goes a long way in shortening the debt collection process, and ensuring more collection.

All collection activities must be carried out in accordance with the local region’s rules and regulations. Violating rules to get more collection is not worth the cost of losing customers and possibly facing litigation.

A high success rate does not vouch for the quality of the agency’s services.  Review the following points before hiring a collection agency.

  • How long has the collection agency been running?
  • Does the agency have experience with customer accounts similar to yours?
  • Has the collection agency worked with businesses of your size?
  • Is the agency capable of handling the amount of debt involved in your case?
  • What are the agency’s strategies for collecting debt?
  • Are the collection agency personnel well-versed in debt collection laws?
  • Can it give references of clients, which you can verify?
  • What are the collection agency’s charges? Survey the market to get a competitive rate.
  • Does the collection agency hold an ISO Accreditation?
  • Are they accredited with appropriate regulatory body?

Collection agencies help your business in reducing bad debts and improving customer relationships.  Be prudent in selecting a collection agency for your business. The right collection agency is a valuable business partner.

CBC International is registered under Data Protection, Licensed under the Consumer Credit Act by the Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”)  and holds an ISO 9001:2008 Quality Assurance Accreditation, which it has held for over 8 years.

If you would like discuss how our Debt Recovery/Debt Collection service can assist your business, please visit the ‘Debt Recovery/Debt Collection’ section on our website,  contact us on +44 (0) 151 515 3014 or email us.

Debit card spending topples cash

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Spending on debit cards rocketed to £272bn this year to overtake cash spending in the economy for the first time ever, according to figures released by the Payments Council.

The figures also revealed that an additional 1.6 million transactions were made on debit cards in the UK between July and September this year, a 10 per cent rise on the summer of 2009.

Cash spending during the same period totalled £269bn as its use declined, with withdrawals from cash machines falling by 1.5 per cent in the third quarter of this year compared to the third quarter of 2009.

Sandra Quinn, head of communications at the Payments Council, said: “Cash is too cumbersome for many consumers these days, they prefer a card for anything more than the smallest transactions.

“We now expect our debit cards to be accepted everywhere we go, in pubs and clubs, at the corner shop, online and on the high street. Having quickly supplanted cheques, then claimed the scalp of credit cards, they have now usurped cash’s throne too.”

Credit card spending rose by 2.2 per cent in the third quarter of this year while the number of cardholders decreased from 31.7 million to 30 million compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile 104 million fewer cheques were written over the last twelve months compared to the previous year, with the Payments Council predicting that both the number of cheques written and the value of money they move will almost halve by 2015.

Quinn added: “Cheques are very rarely used by consumers to pay for things – they are now mainly reserved for larger transactions, especially moving savings and investments around, although they are still popular for giving gifts.”

Spending on debit cards rocketed to £272bn this year to overtake cash spending in the economy for the first time ever, according to figures released by the Payments Council.

The figures also revealed that an additional 1.6 million transactions were made on debit cards in the UK between July and September this year, a 10 per cent rise on the summer of 2009.

Cash spending during the same period totalled £269bn as its use declined, with withdrawals from cash machines falling by 1.5 per cent in the third quarter of this year compared to the third quarter of 2009.

Sandra Quinn, head of communications at the Payments Council, said: “Cash is too cumbersome for many consumers these days, they prefer a card for anything more than the smallest transactions.

“We now expect our debit cards to be accepted everywhere we go, in pubs and clubs, at the corner shop, online and on the high street. Having quickly supplanted cheques, then claimed the scalp of credit cards, they have now usurped cash’s throne too.”

Credit card spending rose by 2.2 per cent in the third quarter of this year while the number of cardholders decreased from 31.7 million to 30 million compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile 104 million fewer cheques were written over the last twelve months compared to the previous year, with the Payments Council predicting that both the number of cheques written and the value of money they move will almost halve by 2015.

Quinn added: “Cheques are very rarely used by consumers to pay for things – they are now mainly reserved for larger transactions, especially moving savings and investments around, although they are still popular for giving gifts.”

If you would like discuss how our Debt Recovery/Debt Collection service can assist your business, please visit the ‘Debt Recovery/Debt Collection’ section on our website,  contact us on +44 (0) 151 515 3014 or email us.

Please note: Information in this blog post is content property of Credit Today and the full original article can be found by clicking here.

Banks may have stopped lending but cash advances are on the increase

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

As Bank of England figures reveal that banks are still curbing their lending to business, Merchant Cash Express announces that it has doubled the amount of financial support it has given to small enterprises over the past 12 months particularly in the convenience retail sector, through Business Cash Advance.

With smaller organisations finding it particularly difficult to get credit, cash advances are an increasingly popular way to receive a financial injection especially for convenience and small retail stores which make up one quarter of all Business Cash Advance’s contracts.

“Although banks are restricting their lending, we have doubled the number of small businesses we have worked with over the past year and expect that growth to continue,” says Richard Morley, director at Merchant Cash Express. “We have an appetite for investment and are actively seeking businesses to support.”

Companies are finding that a cash advance is an effective and efficient way of securing much needed funding to help them expand and grow and are often recommended by their banks to consider a cash advance because they recognise how difficult it is at the moment to get loans approved.

Advances, which average £14,000 but can be up to £100,000, are given against future credit and debit card transactions and are repaid as these transactions are made. Whilst a fee is charged, no interest is accrued and there are no fixed monthly payments with the advance repaid as a percentage of these future transactions as they occur.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our country and they need to flourish if we are to see the end of the recession. Loans are increasingly difficult to secure, overdrafts are often not enough yet businesses occasionally need an injection of cash to ease cash flow, buy stock or pay for improvements,” adds Richard Morley.

Merchant Cash Express launched Business Cash Advance just three years ago after identifying the success of the sector in the US and has already helped thousands of small businesses to raise much needed funding, quickly and easily. The cash amount is based on the forecasted credit and debit card transaction values and is typically equivalent to one month’s card sales. To qualify, a business simply has to have been trading for one year, be regularly achieving in excess of 25 credit and debit card transactions a month at a minimum total value of £3,500.00. Clients typically include convenience stores, florists, hairdressers, dentists, hotels and restaurants.

If you would like discuss how our Debt Recovery/Debt Collection service can assist your business, please visit the ‘Debt Recovery/Debt Collection’ section on our website,  contact us on +44 (0) 151 515 3014 or email us.

Please note: Information in this blog post is content property of Business Credit Management UK (www.creditman.co.uk)  and the full original article can be found by clicking here.

Orders up, profits down at smaller firms but late payment continues to be a problem

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Many small businesses have experienced a rise in orders and turnover in recent months, new research has discovered.

The Forum of Private Business found that almost one in three (30%) members on its ‘Economy Watch’ panel saw increases in their order books and turnovers, with only 16% reporting a decrease.

Business for the remaining 54% stayed steady between the Forum’s previous survey in mid October and the latest study, which was carried out in late November.

However, many business owners on the panel also reported a sharp drop in profitability during the same period as increases in fuel costs, energy prices and raw materials hit home.

At 46%, almost half of the firms surveyed said they had seen a recent increase in the cost of doing business, with only 1% reporting that costs had fallen.

As a result, 27% of Economy Watch panel members reported a decrease in profitability since they were last surveyed in October, compared to just 14% who reported an increase.

Forum spokesman Phil McCabe said: “Our research shows that, for now at least, business appears to be on the up for many small firms. This perhaps reflects other statistics on the health of the overall economy in recent months.

“However, the ever-increasing costs of unavoidable overheads like gas, electricity, fuel and raw materials are taking their toll and eating into small companies’ profitability.

“This inflationary pressure is a real concern – it basically means more money is being sucked out of small firms and transferred overseas, or over to multi-national businesses in the utility and oil industries. It’s something the Government really needs to tackle if it wants smaller businesses to drive economic growth and create jobs in the months and years ahead.”

Economy Watch also revealed businesses expect to secure 20% more finance for development in 2011 than they did in 2010.

Those surveyed anticipated to receive around £45,500 each next year, rather than the £38,000 they said they expected during 2010 when surveyed in February.

However, the amount business expect to source from external sources – predominantly traditional bank lending – has seen a 27% slump. Correspondingly, the amount business owners expect to come from internal sources such as directors, friends and family members, has shot up from 10% for 2010 to 45% for 2011.

Mr McCabe commented: “It’s obviously encouraging to see that smaller businesses expect to invest more in business development next year than they did in 2010. It shows they are fairly optimistic about their prospects as we head into 2011 and believe they will be able to develop and grow in the future.

“The large drop in the amount of finance small companies expect to receive from external sources does serve as a stark reminder of how much faith has been lost in traditional credit streams such as bank lending.

“However, we believe there are alternatives and ways for SMEs to greatly improve their chances of securing finance. That’s why we’re helping businesses access innovative new schemes like the Funding Store and the Funding Circle, which aim to get creditworthy firms the best possible borrowing deals by sharing their details with a much greater volume and diversity of potential lenders.

“We also helped to devise the operating principles for Doing Business Together – a body made up of organisations including banks, credit rating agencies and trade credit insurers to help smaller firms manage their finances better and access the funds they need.”

Economy Watch also found that businesses appear to have been encouraged by the recent Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) outlined by Chancellor George Osborne. Before the CSR announcement in October, 48% of panel members were positive about the Government’s handling of the economy, but since the CSR, the figure has risen to 57%.

Other key findings from the November Economy Watch report included:

Businesses confidence is slightly higher than it was in October, but still significantly below a peak recorded by Economy Watch in April. Around 41% of business owners said they are either ‘confident’ or ‘very confident’ that their business will grow in the next six months, compared to just 12% who said they are either ‘pessimistic’ or ‘very pessimistic’. The survey found an overall ‘confidence score’ of 0.28 in late November, compared to 0.38 seven months earlier.

Based on the responses from panel members, employment among SMEs is expected to increase by around 3% in 2011. Vacancies outweighed redundancies among those surveyed for the third month running, following an overall contraction in employee numbers from February to July.

Creating a better economic climate emerged as the top priority among those surveyed. When askedwhat was neededto help their business grow, 23% of panel members selected ‘an improvement in the economy’ from a list of 12 options. Improved business/consumer confidence emerged as the second most popular choice, finding favour with 21% of respondents, followed by internal business development, on 19%.

Almost nine out of every ten business owners appear unconcerned about the Coalition’s shake-up of regional development agencies. 68% of respondents said they do not use public sector business support, while 21% said the replacement of regional development agencies with local enterprise partnerships would make no difference to them.

Late payment continues to be a problem for smaller companies. The amount of panel members’ capital which is tied up in late payment increased by around 1.4%, at an average of 37% each.

If you would like discuss how our Debt Recovery/Debt Collection service can assist your business, please visit the ‘Debt Recovery/Debt Collection’ section on our website,  contact us on +44 (0) 151 515 3014 or email us.

Please note: Information in this blog post is content property of Business Credit Management UK (www.creditman.co.uk)  and the full original article can be found by clicking here.

A third of people expect their finances to worsen in 2011

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

A third of people (30%) believe that their financial situation will worsen over the next six months, according to a quarterly survey by R3, the insolvency trade body – an increase of 7 percent on the last quarter. The number of people who believe that their financial situation will improve has fallen from 35 percent to just 22 percent.

R3 President, Steven Law commented:

“Since we last carried out the survey, the government has issued the Comprehensive Spending Review that announced job cuts and welfare cuts, so it is unsurprising that fewer people are feeling optimistic about their financial outlook. In many cases of personal insolvency the contributory factor is a sudden change in circumstance, such as losing a source of income, which makes repaying outstanding debts difficult. With personal debt hitting record highs and job cuts looming, many people will be feeling vulnerable.”

The research shows that the number of people who are worried about their current level of debt has remained steady, with one in four (39%) expressing concern. In the West Midlands, people are most likely to worry, with half of those surveyed saying they are worried about their debts. In London, one in four are concerned.

Credit card debts continue to dominate the concerns of those who are worried about their debts, with 47 percent saying this accounts for their worries. Of those concerned about their debts, over a quarter (28%) of people are concerned about how far they are into their overdraft. Amongst those who worry about their debts, concern about mortgage repayments has jumped 4 percent – from 19 percent to 23 percent – since the last survey.

Steven Law continued:

“I see many people who are concerned about their credit card debts as, worryingly, they rely on them for day-to-day purchases. Unfortunately, I fear that the number of people worrying about their levels of credit card debt is set to grow.

“The jump in the number of people worrying about their mortgage repayments may be due to the fact that, typically, the value of a mortgage repayment tends to be higher than the monthly repayment on a credit card. The higher value of this debt may make a mortgage repayment seem more difficult to pay each month. Many may be concerned that their repayments will increase when interest rates start to rise. People who feel that they are struggling with their personal debt should seek professional advice on managing their household budget as soon as possible.”

R3 is the trade body for Insolvency Professionals, and represents 97% of the UK’s Insolvency Practitioners.

If you would like discuss how our Debt Recovery/Debt Collection service can assist your business, please visit the ‘Debt Recovery/Debt Collection’ section on our website,  contact us on +44 (0) 151 515 3014 or email us.

Please note: Information in this blog post is content property of Business Credit Management UK (www.creditman.co.uk)  and the full original article can be found by clicking here.

England's 2018 FIFA World Cup bid ends in defeat

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

England has this afternoon learnt that it has lost it’s bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.  They were beaten by Russia.

An earlier report by sports finance analysts stated that “England’s bid to host the 2018 football World Cup is better than any of the rival bids when judged according to profitability and legacy” however, it would seem that the FIFA executive committee decided otherwise and awarded the prestigious tournament to Russia, where it will be the first World Cup to be held in Eastern Europe.

Also the 2022 FIFA World Cup host has been announced this afternoon.  It will be held in the oil rich gulf state of Qatar, this another first in World Cup history, as it will be the first time an Arab nation has hosted the tournament.

It is extremely disappointing that England have lost this bid however, it is likely that the bid team will now go away and ensure that their next attempt is a success.  The earliest England would be eligible to bid for the tournament is for the 2026 World Cup.

It is too early to see how this loss will effect the UK economy however, other events hosted in the UK throughout the next decade are likely to help the countries financial situation, which is in definite need of improvement.

2018 FIFA World Cup

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

The bidding process for the 2018 FIFA World Cup is currently underway.  The bidding procedure to host the World Cup began in January 2009, and national associations had until 2nd February 2009 to register their interest.  The twenty-two member FIFA Executive Committee will vote to select the host later today, at approximately 3.00pm (GMT).

The bid from England is faced with competition from Russia, as well as joint bids from Belgium-Netherlands and Portugal-Spain respectively.  It is widely published that the bid from Portugal & Spain is the leading contender and that will of course come as welcome news to government of both nations, who are currently plotting an economical revival, following the global recession.  Earlier this month it was announced that Germany, along with the International Monetary Fund and the 15 other nations that share the euro, were to set up a $1 trillion fund this year to contain Europe’s debt crisis and protect the euro, therefore any positive news will certainly be welcomed.

Some might say fortunately for England, our government decided not to take us into the Euro and elected to keep the British Pound, which, on face value appears to have been a shrewd decision, despite our own economical downturn, we are perhaps better placed than a number of other European countries.

A delegation from England fronted by Prime Minister, David Cameron, Prince William (In his capacity of President of the Football Association) and David Beckham, has worked extremely hard to persuade the FIFA Executive Committee to vote for England.  As the founders of Association Football it is hard to believe that England has not hosted this prestigious tournament since 1966, some 44 years ago and if the bid is defeated, as it was in 2006 when England were beaten in a vote by Germany, England would have to wait until 2026 before becoming eligible to make another attempt to host the tournament under the FIFA continent rotation system.

Our blog post earlier this year discussed the economic benefits to South Africa, the host of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the ongoing legacy that a successful event can have on a nation.  In 1996 England hosted the UEFA European Football Championships, which resulted in a number of improvements to stadia and infrastructure throughout the whole of the UK.   With all due respect to that prestigious competition, the FIFA World Cup is able to provide so much more, which could be vital for our own economical revival.  As with the Olympic Games in London which will be held in 2012 and a number of other sporting events already scheduled between 2010-2020, the government is keen to promote this our ‘Golden Decade of Sport’ and something which can provide a symbol of hope and enjoyment, through bleak  economic times.

I hope you all agree that the benefits of hosting prestigious sporting events can provide so much for the UK economy and provide long lasting benefits to businesses & individuals alike.  Please join us and ‘Back the Bid’.

Court delays are costing landlords thousands in lost income

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Landlords are having to wait up to eight weeks to enforce possession of their properties from non-paying tenants, according to a new report.

The result is thousands of pounds lost in unpaid rents and the risk of properties being trashed and left uninhabitable, further adding to the owners woes.

The research, by the specialist enforcement company Shergroup, highlighted serious delays between the time from a possession order being granted to the point that a court bailiff is available to evict the tenant.

High Wycombe, Huddersfield, Ilford, Leigh, Romford, Salford, Slough, Willesden and Woolwich County Courts all admitted delays of up to eight weeks and the problem could get worse as the full impact of the spending cuts is felt according to Shergroup Chief Executive, Claire Sandbrook:

“Court resources are being stretched and in the busiest courts they are no longer able to deliver an enforcement service that could in any way be considered reasonable,” she says. “And with budgets being cut by 25%, and the number of tenants falling into arrears likely to rise, the problem is only going to get worse.”

All 167 County Courts were surveyed and asked how soon a bailiff could be available to enforce an eviction. Timeframes varied depending on the size of the court, and the volume of cases they were obliged to handle. Some of the smaller courts, such as Aberdare, could respond within seven days; others could not give an answer at all, either because they didn’t know, or more likely that they didn’t want to commit to something they couldn’t deliver.

Claire says that part of the problem is that the courts are simply being overwhelmed, but that with no common IT platform, there is no mechanism from moving caseloads from busy courts to those with spare capacity, or make greater use of private sector High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs): “It seems inconceivable that in these days of shared services and public-to-private partnerships, that more isn’t being done to spread the load,” she says.

“Whilst money has been invested in getting to judgment more speedily, this is of little use if the creditor ­ in this case the landlord ­ still has to wait weeks and even months to have that judgment enforced.”

There are an estimated 60,000 possession orders granted each year, according to Shergroup, of which around 3,000 are passed to the private sector to collect. Private HCEOs charge more for their services than their public sector counterparts, but Claire says that waiting months for an enforcement that could be completed within days is a false economy:

“Many landlords are private individuals who depend on rental income to meet their own financial obligations,” she says. “Not only are they having to pay to take their tenants to court, but they are then losing vital rent while they wait for a bailiff to give them an eviction date.

“It is a postcode lottery,” she concludes, “that could be easily resolved if only the Ministry of Justice had the imagination to fundamentally overhaul the administrative process.”

Shergroup intends to publish a league table on its website on a regular basis.

If you would like discuss how our Debt Recovery/Debt Collection service can assist your business, please visit the ‘Debt Recovery/Debt Collection’ section on our website,  contact us on +44 (0) 151 515 3014 or email us.

Please note: Information in this blog post is content property of Business Credit Management UK (www.creditman.co.uk)  and the full original article can be found by clicking here.

New research reveals that businesses and consumers are wrong when it comes to knowing when a cheque won't bounce

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

New market research has found that cheque recipients’ understanding of how long they have to wait before they can be certain that a cheque won’t bounce, and that the money is safely theirs, is still very low.

Since 30 November 2007, customers have benefited from an industry-wide change which ensures that, six working days after paying in a cheque, the money is theirs to keep.  This means that there is no chance of the cheque funds being reclaimed by the paying bank unless the customer is a knowing party to a fraud.  Before this change, a cheque could have bounced weeks or even months after it had been paid it in, potentially leaving customers who had spent cheque funds out of pocket.  This was one of a number of changes to the cheque clearing process known as 2-4-6 *.

Despite such a positive change, market research carried out on behalf of the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company has revealed that only 1% of consumers correctly know how long you have to wait before you can be certain that the money is yours.  Worryingly, 79% believe that the cheque funds are definitely theirs earlier than they actually are.  15% are unsure or have no idea of when a cheque has safely cleared.

Businesses, for whom certainty is often more important because they may be waiting to hand over goods or services, fared equally poorly – only 2% correctly identified that you have to wait until the end of the sixth working day before you can be sure that the cheque funds are yours.  82% think that the timescale is earlier than six working days.  9% are unsure or have no idea of when a cheque has safely cleared.

It is particularly important that businesses are aware of the cheque clearing timescales given that on 30 June next year the Cheque Guarantee Card Scheme is being withdrawn, meaning that after this date businesses will no longer be able to accept a cheque guaranteed with a plastic card.

To help customers better understand when their cheque won’t bounce, and the other timescales involved, the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company provides an online tool on its website where customers can enter the date they pay in their cheque to work out when they can be sure that the money is theirs to keep.  The checker is free to use at: www.chequechecker.co.uk.

Angela Thomas, managing director of the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company, said:

“Although only a tiny percentage of the cheques being processed every day are actually returned unpaid it’s still disappointing that so many people are unaware of when cheque funds are definitely theirs to keep.  If anyone is unsure of the timescales involved I would urge them to look at the information on our website, or simply check with their bank or building society when they are paying it in.”

In addition to the cheque checker, there is a section on the 2-4-6 changes in a new, revised edition of Cheques and Cheque Clearing the Facts.  This booklet, produced in co-operation with the Belfast Bankers’ Clearing Company, provides useful information and key facts about cheques including the clearing cycle and the 2-4-6 timescales. It is available to download from the Resources/Publications section of the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company website at www.chequeandcredit.co.uk.

The Cheque and Credit Clearing Company (C&CCC) is a non-profit making industry body, which has managed the cheque clearing system in England and Wales since 1985, and in all of Great Britain since 1996 when it took over responsibility for managing the Scottish cheque clearing.  As well as clearing cheques, the system processes bankers’ drafts, building society cheques, postal orders, warrants, government payable orders and travellers’ cheques.  The company also manages the systems for the clearing of paper bank giro credits (the credit clearing), euro cheques (the euro clearing) and US dollar cheques (the currency clearing for US dollar cheques drawn on London banks.

* The 2-4-6 changes to the cheque clearing timescales
In an electronic age, people ask why it still takes three days to clear a cheque.  The fact is, cheques still have to be returned physically to the bank on which they are drawn to be examined for fraud.  This and other issues were addressed by the Cheques Working Group, which was set up in October 2005 by the OFT-led Payment Systems Task Force.

If you would like discuss how our Debt Recovery/Debt Collection service can assist your business, please visit the ‘Debt Recovery/Debt Collection’ section on our website,  contact us on +44 (0) 151 515 3014 or email us.

Please note: Information in this blog post is content property of Business Credit Management UK (www.creditman.co.uk)  and the full original article can be found by clicking here.