October 2018 has been set as the date to end cheque payments, but only if an adequate alternative can be found.

The board of the UK Payments Council set the date hoping this will encourage the advance of other forms of payment so cheques can be completely phased out.

Many retailers no longer accept cheques and the Council said there should be “no scenario” for using cheques by 2018.

The very first cheque was written 350 years ago.