A cheque is a form of payment through a bank or financial institution that gives permission for the bank to pay an amount of money from one person’s account to the account of the person who the cheque is written out to.

In general, cheques are a much less secure form of payment than a bank transfer or even a credit or debit card. One of its main disadvantages is that it’s easier to commit fraud using a cheque and it’s very costly for banks to process because of the many verification stages associated with this form of payment.

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How do cheques work?

A cheque is written out and signed by either the account holder or someone with power of attorney over the account and is made out to a pre-determined payee by name. The recipient then presents the cheque to his or her bank that in turn processes the cheque over a specified number of days.

Dependant on the type of cheque this can take anything from 3-5 working days for domestic cheques to anything up to 8 weeks for unsecured international cheques. Cheques are only valid for a maximum of 6 months from the date on the cheque. This is to protect the account holder in case of theft or error.

Cheques: The pros and cons

  • The ability to pay or deposit large amounts of funds
  • Cheques can be cancelled during the processing period
  • One of the most widely accept payment methods worldwide
  • It’s very easy to commit fraud with a cheque
  • The deposit time for international cheques can be up to 8 weeks
  • Cheques can still bounce, even once presented

Do you find cheques a bit dated? There’s more information on the different payment options available to you in the list below: