The death of the cheque at the checkout appears one step closer after it was announced today cheque guarantee cards will be withdrawn in mid-2011.

Not only will cards no longer be issued around that time, but existing plastic will be invalid.

Shoppers who use cheques have no access to some of the rewards available to those who use a credit card that offers cashback or other rewards such as free flights.

However, always pay such cards off in full each month or the interest charged will dwarf any benefits.

Cheques to be phased out

Cheque guarantee cards are literally a guarantee to retailers that you have the necessary funds to ensure your cheque is honoured. However, they usually have a maximum £250 guarantee limit.

The cessation of such cards does not mean you won’t be able to use a cheque. However, the Payments Council, which announced the move, says many retailers will stop accepting cheques as a result.

This would add to an already-growing list of major merchants that no longer accept this payment method, including Boots, Marks & Spencer and Tesco.

It's likely cheques will eventually only be used for postal payments.

Further reading

Earn cash when you spend: Cashback credit cards
Reward credit cards: Credit Card Reward Schemes