Paying In a Cheque, which country is stuck in the past?

September 22, 2010

I recently set up a bank account with SEB here in Estonia. The lady behind the counter was incredibly helpful and I really like our local bank here in the Elva supermarket.

The reason why I set up the account is because I recently received a cheque from HM Revenue and Customs in England for a return of overpaid taxes, for quite a considerable sum of just over £400. I figured this would be the easiest way to get that money, rather than sending the cheque back to England for my parents to pay it into my English account on my behalf.

Like I said, the lady at the bank was very helpful, and despite her minor embarrassment of spelling my middle name “Johan” instead of “John” the setting up of the account went very smoothly and I even got a free USB ID Card reader to sweeten the deal.

It all turned quite sour though when we mentioned that I also have a cheque to pay in. I rather naively assumed it would be a simple process. Yes they would probably have to send the cheque back to England to get the funds, but I’m happy to wait. It turns out, however, that they wanted a processing fee of 500 Estonian kroons if I were to pay it into my bank account.

I couldn’t quite believe it. In England it’s free to pay in a cheque, always has been. Not only that but French banks have been fined recently for fixing prices for paying in cheques, and that was 4.3 Euro cents a cheque, nothing compared to the Estonian equivalent fee of 3200 Euro cents.

So my cheque was “only” worth £400, so should I pay £27 of that to get it put into my account? Apparently the fee applies to all cheques, not just ones from Johannes Foreigner.

So my question to you, my illustrious reader(s), should the UK start adopting a stricter rule policy for dealing with cheques to get rid of them from society, like Estonia is doing? Or is it wrong for Estonia to charge so much to process a cheque?

I can understand why Estonian banks are so reluctant to take cheques, because Estonia have never been a cheque using society, but come on… £27? It used to be 100 kroons until recently, but even £5.50 sounds like a lot to me.

One Response to “Paying In a Cheque, which country is stuck in the past?”

  1. Gav, mate

    Send the cheque to me…I’ll…er…sort it for you ;) . I just need to start a bank account under your name first, so you’ll have to send me your passport as well. :-)

    Seriously though, that’s a very poor show. I mean, yes, cheques are very 20th-century but surely that means they’re just right for the sticks? :)

    I take it the same doesn’t apply to your paychecks from work?

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