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to think that it doesn't really take banks 6 working days nowadays to clear a cheque?

(42 Posts)
christmaswrapping Tue 21-Dec-10 18:28:49

I paid a cheque into my current account last week, and have been waiting patiently for it to clear.

I am now no longer patient, it has been four working days, and I contacted the bank to see when the funds would be available. And they have said it takes up to 6 working days.

Does it really take them six days to talk to each other? Electronics nowadays - is it now instantenous seconds, to check whether account it is coming from has funds, credit other account with said funds.

AIBU to think it does not take 6 days?!?

atswimtwolengths Tue 21-Dec-10 18:30:51

AND... if you write a cheque, the minute it's in the bank the money is unavailable from your account.

atswimtwolengths Tue 21-Dec-10 18:31:22

Lloyds says it's five days, by the way, and I thought they were all the same?

BusyMisstletoeIzzy Tue 21-Dec-10 18:31:30

Of course YANBU, it should all be electronic and immediate these days.

christmaswrapping Tue 21-Dec-10 18:32:58

Lloyds are obviously more efficient than HSBC.

Chatelaine Tue 21-Dec-10 18:33:42

That's how they make their money, i.e. it their money before it becomes available to you and they earn interest on the interval. 6 working day sounds unreasonable to me though. I thought is was 3. Query that.

DinosaursHateUnderpants Tue 21-Dec-10 18:34:03

Agreed - it takes them 48 hours (at most) to establish funds are available, the rest is them making money on the credit.

maristella Tue 21-Dec-10 18:34:34

there was something in the press about this a few years ago.

it definitely does not take more than 1 working day, and for the extra days they are gaining interest on your payment. banks are making millions out of this every year

JingleBelleDameSansMerci Tue 21-Dec-10 18:35:47

Barclays will let you draw up to £1000 against a cheque paid into your account immediately (ie you don't have to wait for it to clear). Of course, you'd be a bit stuffed if it didn't clear and had spent the money...

Seona1973 Tue 21-Dec-10 18:36:17

nothing is electronic with a cheque though - it gets sent to the other bank who have to check for funds before the money can clear into your account. We always said 3 clear working days (not counting day of deposit or weekends, etc) so a cheque paid in on Monday should clear by Friday or paid in on Friday should clear by Thursday.

christmaswrapping Tue 21-Dec-10 18:40:26

Why are they still not electronic? I scan it into machine, machine takes pretty picture of it. Why doesn't this scan get sent to the other bank?

If I hand it in at the counter, they scan the cheque into the machine, why doesn't that image get sent to other bank?

ILoveItWhenYouCallMeBoo Tue 21-Dec-10 18:42:36

when i left the bank in may it was 10 working days, funds available in 3 though.

Seona1973 Tue 21-Dec-10 18:42:44

they arent going to set up that system now though if they are phasing out cheques. We scanned cheques for our own records and if our customers/fraud dept had an issue we could see the details.

create Tue 21-Dec-10 18:45:03

Seona is right. It should be electronic, but the fact is it isn't. The process is that you pay the cheque into your bank account. The cheque is sent in the clearing to the drawer's bank and arrives on the 3rd working day. The drawee bank then has 1 day to decide if the cheque should be paid or returned unpaid. i.e. check for funds/stops/signatures etc and if unpaid the cheque is returned to the crossing bank (where it was paid in) by first class post. If that is not the account holder's bank it then has to be sent on again by post. So yes, it is entirely possible for a cheque to be returned unpaid after 6 days, or even longer.

It is a horribly manual process, which is why cheques are being phased out and why if you have any sense you should get anyone paying you to do it electronically. If the cheque is lost in the post as it is being returned unpaid, your account can be debited indefinitely. If you are paid electronically, once the funds are in your account, they are yours.

Most banks do however, pay you interest on the uncleared cheque from the 3rd working day.

DinosaursHateUnderpants Tue 21-Dec-10 18:45:34

It IS electronic these days - the cheque doesn't have to be 'sent' anywhere in order to be cleared (it IS physically sent, but not for clearing purposes )- the clearing is done on the overnight cheque runs - in theory they clear immediately which is why Barclays and others can do what they do in terms of speed clearing.

Don't forget that many banks, though differently named, are part of the same banking group.

Seona1973 Tue 21-Dec-10 18:50:30

they are letting you have the funds early but if the cheque gets returned unpaid then you would potentially become overdrawn. They have up to the end of the 6th working day for a decision to 'bounce' a cheque

Chatelaine Tue 21-Dec-10 18:51:01

I do feel that we should retain the option of a manual system for security. The fact remains that it is slower and less advantageous.

NonnoMum Tue 21-Dec-10 18:53:57

This used to drive me mad when I banked with Alliance and Leicester. The account was always being recommended by Martin MoneySavingNotReallySuchanExpert as a best buy account as it paid a good rate of interest when in credit. BUT it took 6 days (yes, really) to clear a cheque which smetimes would put me into overdraft, and then I'd receive charges etc etc.
Went back to one of the big high street banks. Receive litle or no interest but it is v v efficient (and I don't get unfair charges).

And there is nowhere on the MoneyNotReallySaving Forum to question his suggestions.

christmaswrapping Tue 21-Dec-10 18:54:33

create When you say account holder's bank - do you mean the branch that I'm registered at or the chain of banks I belong?

I hope the latter, otherwise bummer as I didn't pay it into the branch I'm registered at.

I can't finish my xmas shopping now. sad

Seona1973 Tue 21-Dec-10 18:56:02

when did you pay it in?

Seona1973 Tue 21-Dec-10 18:59:09

if it was Thursday then the funds should be available tomorrow

christmaswrapping Tue 21-Dec-10 18:59:32


I was going to go shopping tomorrow.

I'm at work Thursday and Friday.

christmaswrapping Tue 21-Dec-10 18:59:59

Ooh I hope so.

create Tue 21-Dec-10 19:02:02

Chatelaine - why for security? Huge amount of fraud is by cheque - another reason for getting rid of them. Very easy to copy a signature, intercept a cheque or cheque book in the post, produce a forged cheque or alter an amount or payee. Far harder to overcome the security measures incorporated in the electronic systems.

caramelwaffle Tue 21-Dec-10 19:06:30

Cash is King. Diamonds and Gold are Empress and Emperor.

<apropos of nothing much really>


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