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Last Updated: Friday, 12 August 2005, 10:00 GMT 11:00 UK
Cheques to be 'extinct by 2025'
Someone writing a cheque
Cheque usage has been falling for the past decade
Cheques could be redundant as a means of paying for goods and services by 2025, Halifax bank has predicted.

The use of cheques fell 7% in 2004 to an all time low. Halifax said if current trends continued they could fall out of use within 20 years.

In 2004, 2.1 billion cheques were written, down from 3.7 billion in 1990.

Cheques are being superseded by debit card transactions as more people buy goods and services over the phone and the internet, Halifax said.

"It is very clear that cheques are no longer the main payment method and, based on the current rate of decline, they are likely to virtually disappear within the next 20 years," Peter Jackson, Halifax's head of banking, said.

"Cash and debit cards are clearly the preferred method of payment in the UK today."

According to the Association of Payment Clearing Services (Apacs), the card industry body, there were 3.7 billion debit card transactions in 2004, compared to 522 million in 1990.

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