Paying via Cheques & Standing Order Forms


#1

It’s 2017, I havent written a cheque in over 3 years nor seen a traditional standing order form for a long time.

But it happened. The company in question is Equiniti.
They manage most of the Sharesave related services for a lot of the FTSE 100 companies.

So, I got a lovely letter asking me for a Cheque for £250 to complete my Sharesave setup. I rung them up asking if there is any modern methods I could pay, perhaps even a over the phone payment or a simple BACS and the person on the phone said no, it has to be cheque. I kept trying and the person on the phone eventually said why is it such a big deal and I mentioned my bank doesnt have cheque books and the reply I got let’s just say wasnt helpful.

Anyways I digress, I totally understand from previous road maps / forum threads during the pre-paid period that Cheque Books are not something on the Monzo road map (please someone correct me if I’m wrong or missed this or its changed) and for the past year+ of using Prepaid and past 2 months using CA I didnt see that as a problem. Cheques seem so out of place in 2017. But what happens when you go up against a company that is likely run like its still 1990’s? Usual advice would be just to avoid, but it’s not really an option for things like Shares.

So my question is, is there any option long term in the CA for the extremely rare and unusual circumstance that one needs a cheque, to get access to either a Cheque Book or potentially requesting one single cheque via Live Chat which can be pre-filled and sent? I know it’s rare, but I still think people will occasionally struggle with the odd old fashioned company.

in this case, I found a Cheque Book first issued in 2006 (god I feel old all of a sudden) from Natwest, which was slightly discoloured from age where I successfully wrote the cheque and posted it off to them. So sadly, saved by the traditional bank in this one situation.

Secondly, Part two of the pain and suffering of dealing with Equiniti. They sent out a standing order instruction form. Basically I add my account number and sort code and post it directly to my bank for it to be processed. Again in 2017 and with Direct Debits so easy and modern I was shocked to see one of these (but again, Equiniti strikes again…). I spoke on Live Chat and basically got told to set it up myself in the App which I did as a normal Standing Order.

Two problems arose here, firstly the reference number needed on the standing order wouldn’t fit the box. I found out from Liam from Monzo (lovely guy, properly fed up with me by now!) on Live Chat that its a limitation of the Faster Payments. So the question arose how would a traditional bank handle it. After no support from Equiniti who said it shouldnt be a problem I was in town one day and decided to pop into the good old bank Natwest were I still have an account and asked at the desk how it would be setup. They confirmed to me that if I was to submit that, they would cut off the end of the reference field if it was submitted and I went back to Equiniti who finally confirmed that would be ok, as the unique numbers they need at the start of the reference would still be present - what a pain in the backside that was. So just a heads up for any Monzo users having to deal with Equiniti that is the solution with the Reference Number.

Anyways, back to the point on Standing Order Form. One thing I wasnt sure about is if there is any confirmation between the bank and the supplier? Ie, by Monzo not processing the form themselves, the supplier wouldnt know I’ve set it up until the first payment goes out. Is that normal if a traditional bank sets it up, or is there some kind of notification process where say for example Natwest would tell Equiniti the standing order form has been processed and setup.

Follow up question, what would happen if the supplier themselves sent a Standing Order Form directly to Monzo instead of asking me to send it (and in turn me then using Live Chat to find the answer) - Is there a plan in place for dealing with Standing Order Forms?

Sorry to be the one with a blast from the past. I know both of these things are so outdated and I never expected to be the one to bring it up. But it does raise the slight issue if I didnt still have my Natwest account about I wouldnt have been able to exercise my Share Option with my Employer via Equiniti.


#2

I think that technically any peace of paper with the correct information and signature on it is considered as a valid cheque.
But probably most merchants will not accept it.
I guess one way to do it is for Monzo to give the option to print a blank cheque were you fill it in and sign it.


POLL: Should Monzo issue chequebooks?
(Tony Hoyle) #3

I’ve used postal orders in that situation, as they’re basically cheques issued against the post office. I expect it’d be an expensive option for large amounts though.


#4

Hey @tom - is it possible to get your views on this? Appreciate it’s quite ‘unmodern’ but anything we can do to work with some of these companies who haven’t kept up with the times?


(Richard Owen) #5

I’m no fan of cheques. I really wish we didn’t need them. But I don’t think they’re outdated. Cheques are still an important (although reducing) method of managing money.

I also had chequebooks I hadn’t used for 12 years sat around in a drawer. That was until I started producing kids and those kids wanted to start school and play football.

Here are my use cases:

  1. My kids are involved in after-school activities. e.g. swimming, music, football. Each provider/club expects fees paid by cheque. I’ve spoken to them about accepting bank xfers or online payments and they typically respond with one of these lines:
    a) "We are run by volunteers and we don’t have the time to explore that option"
    b) "We tried bank xfers in 2013 but we have 500 members and many people messed up the payment reference"
    c) "We’ve used cheques for the last 17 years and it just works"
    d) "We’d have to pay fees to accept online payments"
    e) "We are not technical enough to administer stuff like that"
    f) “We’ll probably do that one day in the future - but not this year”

  2. My kids school uses Parent Pay for dinner money and some other fees, but if an external organisation provides a service (school photographs, residential trips, etc) then we are often expected to pay with a cheque. There are also some mornings when your kid says “Dad, erm, today is the deadline for paying for the school trip”. Not enough time to arrange a postal order or make a bank xfer, so a cheque is the quickest solution before leaving for work.

  3. I occasionally send my nephew birthday money by cheque. It is quite special when a 7 year old opens a card and out falls a £10 cheque with their name on. It would be a shame if he saw instead, “Happy Birthday nephew, I’ve transferred £10 to your account. x”. Kids needs to learn about the value of money and money management. Until he manages it himself, it’s better for me and for his parents to teach this using traditional tangible methods.

When I get my salary paid into my Monzo CA, I’ll just have to retain my old First Direct account and make bank xfers to it when I have to pay for something by cheque. Kids, eh?!!


#6

Both my previous landlords’ agents handed me such forms. I never once sent it in, but set up the standing order through online banking (for avoidance of doubt: That was pre-Monzo). I can confirm that neither agent complained about any lack of confirmation or other communication.

I don’t think the supplier can send it to your bank: (1) Are they really expected to have physical addresses of all banks in the country? (2) you need to sign it.

As for cutting off references:

Indeed Barclays also always used to cut off my reference for the rent payment after x characters. Never had a complaint from the landlord or their agent, but also never understood why the agents wanted such long references if they are not supported by the infrastructure …


(system) #7

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