Retailers and cheques now


CBA cheque


The check, once a staple in Australia, is becoming outdated. Although there are no current plans to phase out checks in Australia, the signs show we are abandoning cheques. 

The decline of checks in Australia

Monthly cheque usage has been steadily declining over the past 20 years, with some of the biggest decreases seen in recent years. Latest figures from the Reserve Bank of Australia show that cheque usage was down 17.8% for the year ended June 2022 and 18% down for the same period in 2021. With such a downward trend, does this mean a cheque-less society is on the horizon? Click here.

As some of my clients point out to me, cheques have already been basically phased out in New Zealand.

Let us here discuss some of the effects on retailers.

> The fact is that cheques are less convenient than electronic payment options for retailers. Cheques can take days to clear, and there is always the risk of being stolen or lost in the mail. Banks sometimes dishonour them for various reasons e.g. the signature does not match what was on file. But, electronic payments are instantaneous, verified and can be made from anywhere at any time.

> Another problem is that some financial institutions no longer accept or take them reluctantly. Some banks have stopped issuing chequebooks as part of their account packages. Others will no longer accept foreign checks. One of my clients had to get a special arrangement for banking as they get foreign cheques.

> Many customers, mainly oldies, still prefer to pay using a cheque. These people may go elsewhere if you refuse to accept their cheques. As long as someone else takes them, we have to take them.

> Government departments and some larger organisations still want to pay by cheque.


Although Australia has yet to make any current plans to phase out the use of checks, their use will continue to decline over the coming years. I would wait to consider getting rid of them.

Executive Summary:

  • The use of cheques in Australia is declining, with figures from the Reserve Bank of Australia showing a 17.8% decrease last year.

  • While there are currently no plans to phase out cheques in Australia. Although some financial institutions are no longer accepting them.

  • Electronic payment options are becoming more popular due to their convenience, speed and security.

  • Some customers, particularly older ones, still prefer to pay by cheque, as do some larger organizations, e.g. government departments.

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