Businesses urged to “cheque” outlay

Hard-pressed British businesses can avoid soaring postal costs by turning to automated payments, says Bacs Payment Schemes Ltd, the not-for-profit company behind Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit.

According to latest available figures, 493 million cheques were issued by businesses in 2010, and the incoming 50p charge for a second class stamp for each one would have racked up an astonishing £246.5 million total bill.

Founded in 1968, Bacs, the not-for-profit, membership-based industry body is owned by 16 of the leading banks and building societies in the UK, Europe and the US. Since its inception, more than 90.75 billion transactions have been debited or credited to British bank accounts via Bacs. And in 2011 5.6 billion UK payments were made this way with a total value of £4.3 trillion. A new record was also set in 2011, with a total of 91.92 million items processed in a single day.

Mike Hutchinson, head of marketing at Bacs, said: “Putting cheques in the post has just become an even more expensive option, but it is a cost which businesses can largely avoid simply by using automated payments.”