04/01/2019 06:00 GMT

How To Pay Cheques In On Your Phone (And Avoid Those Queues At The Bank)

Well that was easy.

Is there anything worse than heading to the bank on your lunch break in January, only to join the 79 other people paying in Christmas cheques from their nan?

If you’re anything like us, you want to avoid those queues like the plague – and thankfully, these days you can. Rather than going into the bank, you can deposit cheques on your mobile banking app. 

It’s not a new phenomenon, as image-based cheque clearance was introduced back in 2017 – but it seems more banks are now catching up and adding it to their mobile banking apps. 

Towfiqu Photography via Getty Images

The move came following the introduction of an industry-wide, image-based cheque clearing system, which was rolled out in October 2017 and hoped to speed up the cheque deposit process. The new software meant that banks could take photos of cheques and clear them within 24 hours. 

Prior to this, it took up to six days for a cheque to be processed as it had to be physically picked up, delivered and checked.

Since this system has been created, some banks have incorporated it into their mobile banking apps. Cheque imaging is still to be rolled out across all banks and building societies but it is expected to be fully established in 2019.

Check with your bank to find out whether they do mobile cheque deposits, but many already have it available, including Barclays, Lloyds, Halifax and HSBC.

How Do I Do It?

The apps work in similar ways. On Lloyds, for example, you head to “Deposit Cheque” on your home screen for the app. 

You’re then asked to write in the amount on the cheque, as well as a reference (for yourself).

You’ll be asked to take a picture of the front and the back of the cheque – make sure your cheque is on a flat surface and match up the sides of it with the on-screen frame. When it’s lined up, the picture will take automatically.

Once that’s done, review your cheque deposit and confirm the amount. You will be told that your cheque is processing and be contacted if there are any issues.

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How Long Will It Take For My Cheque To Clear?

The majority of banks state on their website that it’ll take one working day for a cheque to clear. With Barclays, for example, its website states if you pay in a cheque before 4pm on a weekday (Monday to Friday, except bank holidays), it’ll clear by 23:59 the next weekday. You’ll see it on your account almost instantly, but the money won’t be available until the cheque has cleared and the money appears in your available balance.

Lloyds also states that funds will be available the next working day. “If you deposit a cheque before 10pm on a normal weekday, that’s classed as the first working day – your money will be available by the end of the following working day,” the website states. 

You can view mobile cheque deposits on the “Deposit History” section of the app, where it will tell you whether your cheque is processing or available.

All banks with the option to deposit cheques this way have step-by-step instructions on their websites, so it’s worth having a look. 

HuffPost UK has contacted Natwest and Royal Bank of Scotland to see when they plan to introduce this feature on mobile banking apps. If you’re unsure, head into the bank to find out more – it’ll save you a lot of time in the long run.