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Last Updated: Friday, 10 August, 2001, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
Cheques and Balances
Sue Clayton
Sue Clayton believes banks can be more efficient
Sue Clayton runs a livery yard providing bed and breakfast for horses. Like most small businesses, cashflow is important to her. She likes to pay her suppliers promptly and know when they've received payment.

But she's become increasingly annoyed that in the age of instant communications and the internet it still takes several days for these payments to be processed. Whether she pays by cheque, transfers funds online or over the phone, it still takes at least three days. During that time neither she nor the person she's paying has access to the money - yet it's debited from her account straight away.

Sue joins presenter Lesley Curwen to investigate how the payments industry works. Why does it take so long, where is your money during the process and who is responsible for speeding things up?

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Internet links:
 Association For Payment Clearing Services
 BACS Ltd
 Details of the Cruickshank Report
 Treasury announcement on Regulation

Internet Links: The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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