Lloyds Bank launches digital cheque payment pilot scheme
Lloyds Bank is piloting a scheme that would let customers pay in cheques using their smartphone.
The bank said it has started a trial with more than 1,750 members of staff that would last for four weeks.
The scheme, which launched this week, lets members of staff submit cheques by taking photos of the front and the back of them using their camera phone.
The photos are then sent securely through their mobile banking app for clearance, rather than a paper cheque having to be taken into the bank.
The pilot is intended to iron out any potential problems, and it may be followed up with a similar initiative for customers, but the bank has yet to make a decision on that front.
Russell Saunders, managing director for global payments at Lloyds Banking Group, said: "We have now started a pilot programme with over 1,750 colleagues in the bank to develop the service and understand the needs of our customers. It is the biggest trial that our digital team has ever undertaken.
"The pilot is expected to run for a number of weeks with a view to using feedback collected to develop the service further."
Despite the increasing popularity of new technologies such as online banking and mobile payments, nearly £840bn of cheques were processed in 2012.
Previous plans to kill off the payment method from 2018 onwards were ditched a few years ago after the Payments Council faced an outcry from MPs, small businesses, charities and pensioner lobby groups, who all said the needs of millions of vulnerable people were being ignored.
A previous government consultation found that the traditional method of processing cheques created "delay and expense".
When paper cheques are paid into banks, they end up going on a journey around the country, travelling to the clearing centres of both the bank collecting the cheque and the paying bank, so that sort codes, account numbers and signatures can be checked for fraud. It is also designed to establish that there are funds in an account to pay the cheque.