U-Turn ahead: cheques are not being phased out!

Charities and individuals alike have been worried for some months now about rumblings surrounding the abolishment of cheques (or “checks” to any US readers) here in the UK. For the most part, the major concern has been that without them, there would be no easily-usable way of transferring funds to charities, to churches, or between individuals without learning Internet Banking or making a trip to the bank.

Well, we need worry no longer.  I’ve just seen a statement from the Payments Council saying that cheques will be kept in use, and the 2018 deadline for their demise has been lifted.  From their statement:

The Payments Council is today (12 July 2011) announcing that cheques will continue for as long as customers need them and the target for possible closure of the cheque clearing in 2018 has been cancelled.  The Payments Council Board will continue to focus on security, efficiency and encouraging innovation in all types of payments to ensure customers have options best suited to the 21st century.

I wonder what this means for cheque guarantee cards, and for the businesses who have already stopped accepting cheque payments due to the previous plans to phase them out? I also wonder what exactly it was that made the Payments Council change their mind?