Apacs has advised people to avoid cheques, whenever possible
BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 9 October, 2004 at 1204 BST.
The programme was repeated on Sunday, 10 October, at 2102 BST.
Fears are mounting that trust in the banking system could disappear following the banks' refusal to guarantee payments made by cheque.
Last weekend Money Box revealed how banks are sometimes clawing back money paid in by cheque long after the payment appears to have cleared.
The programme has been deluged with angry reactions from listeners, shocked that a system they thought was secure is not what it seems.
Until recently the assumption had been that any problems with a cheque, such as fraud or a lack of funds on the writer's behalf would be spotted within a few days.
But now banks are regularly telling customers that cheque payments are never guaranteed and money can be retrieved months later.
We heard from some of the people who are horrified at the situation, including Nigel Ewert Evans of the Society of Licensed Conveyancers and Stephen Alambritis of the Federation for Small Businesses.
And we took their concerns to Sandra Quinn, Director of Corporate Communications at the payments clearing system Apacs.
Producer: Jennifer Clarke
Presenter: Paul Lewis
Reporter: Louise Greenwood
Web Producer: Nathalie Knowles