A cheque is a written instruction by you to your bank to pay a specific amount of money from your bank account to the person you have named.

The benefits

You don’t need to know the bank account number of the person you want to pay by cheque.

Cheques can be mailed to the person or organisation you want to pay.

Things to keep in mind

Cheque usage continues to decline year on year with less acceptance as a payment method. Electronic payments, such as direct credits and online banking, have become preferred payment options as they provide increased certainty and are faster.

If you receive payment by cheque you will need to take it to your bank to deposit it into your account. It may take a few days to process before you can use the funds.

The person to whom the cheque is made out can request a 'special answer' from the payer’s bank for quicker payment. There is normally a fee for this and not all banks provide this service.

If you have paid someone by cheque you need to remember to leave enough funds in your account to cover it, as there can be a time lag before a cheque is deposited.

If you issue a cheque which is subsequently dishonoured for insufficient funds by your bank, this could impact your future credit worthiness.

Security

You can request your bank to stop payment of a cheque if it is lost, stolen or not received by the intended recipient but this must be done before it’s paid by your bank

Cheques are verified by the bank before they are paid for correctness (e.g. to ensure they have been signed in accordance with the account operating authority and the amount in words and figures agree).