Market Overview

SmartDebit review British Chambers of Commerce's urges to Payments Council to axe cheques


Leading UK Direct Debit Bureau, SmartDebit, have reviewed the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) urge for the UK Payments Council to axe cheques in order to tackle the culture of late payment among businesses.

(PRWEB UK) 28 October 2012

The BCC's comments come after they produced research that shows 94 per cent of businesses are affected by late-paying customers. The survey was carried out over 5,000 companies and found that around a quarter of them reported that at least 40 per cent of their invoices were settled late. This comes after separate research from Bacs earlier this year, reported that collectively small and medium-sized enterprises are owed £36.4bn from outstanding bills.

In 2009, the Payments Council announced their plans to phase out cheques by 2018 but faced fierce opposition from various stakeholders across the UK and subsequently had to make a u-turn on their decision. However, the BCC have stated although more than two thirds of small businesses are typically paid by cheque, only one in five cite it as a preferred method of payment.

According to Bacs, the organisation behind Direct Debit, the average amount owed to SMEs is £36,000. The average company is waiting 43.4 days more than the original agreed terms to have their invoices settled. Large corporates are deemed to be the worst culprits with some demanding payment terms of more than 90 days after the invoice has been issued. Estimations suggest that SMEs are spending at least £700m each year, just on chasing debts.

Surrey-based Direct Debit Bureau, SmartDebit also operate a successful cheque clearing service and a spokesperson has commented on the BCC's call to axe cheques and tackling the issue of late payments throughout the UK:

“The issue of late payments is clearly affecting small businesses across the UK. Although research shows cheque usage is at an all-time low, abolishing them without establishing an alternative could be dire for many business and charities that still rely on cheques. More consumers are using their card for everyday payments than ever before, this suggests we are heading towards a cashless society. We do urge all organisations to ensure they can receive electronic payments, whether they require regular Direct Debit payment collections or one of card payments."

About SmartDebit

SmartDebit™ are the UK's leading Direct Debit Bureau, specialising in payment processing services since 1998. A Bacs approved Bureau, scoring ‘Excellent' in all five categories of the Bacs audit, and ISO 27001 compliant. Providing a complete range of services: Outsourcing; SmartDebit-Admin cloud based portal; SmartDebit-Online payer sign up; SmartDebit-API integrated solution and SmartDebit-Contingency.

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