Cheques are written orders from account holders instructing their banks to pay specified sums of money to named beneficiaries. They are not legal tender but are legal documents and their use is governed by the Bills of Exchange Act 1882,and the Cheques Acts of 1957 and 1992.

There is often confusion about how the clearing system works and the time it takes for a cheque to clear.

In November 2007, changes were introduced to increase clarity and certainty for all elements of the UK sterling cheque clearing process. For the first time, after paying in a cheque, you could be sure that at the end of six working days, the money is yours and you are protected from any loss if the cheque subsequently bounces, unless you are a knowing party to a fraud.

Find out more about cheques and other payments here on the Payments Council website.