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Banks in the United Kingdom are scheduled to vote Dec. 16 whether to abolish paper checks by 2018 because they are much more expensive to process compared with accepting cards and other forms of electronic payments. The UK Payments Council, which is organizing the vote, is scheduled to release the results sometime in January. Paul Smee, chief executive of the Payments Council, told the London Sunday Times that meeting the deadline is feasible. Banks pay £1 (US $1.66) to process a check, which is four times the cost of processing an electronic payment, says the payments council, which sets a strategy for UK payments. Check use has declined in the UK, according to the Association for Payment Clearing Services. Last year, only £7.1 billion or  3% of retail spending was paid by check, a 4.1% decline from 2007. The number of checks written has dropped by nearly two-thirds in the past 20 years to 3.8 million per day, the association says. Major supermarkets, including Sainsbury's, have either stopped accepting checks or are phasing out their acceptance, says the Payments Council.

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