One of the key features of a current account is the Debit Card. In spite of an increasing tide of plastic money, cheques are made out by the million every day and still account for almost all non-cash transactions.

Writing cheques

A bank must pay out on a cheque which has been properly drawn by the account holder, as long as the account is in credit, or there's an agreed overdraft limit. You should take care when writing a cheque to prevent the possibility of someone else altering it. If you write a sloppy cheque that allows room for alteration, you - not the bank could be liable for the money lost. If the words and figures on a cheque disagree, it is the words which legally take precedence. In practice, your bank might decide to pay the lower amount, or to return the cheque to you for clarification. Points to watch out for when writing a cheque are:

- never use pencil or a pen that can be rubbed out

- always write the words close together to limit the scope for alteration - for example 'eight' can fairly easily be amended to `eighty', and if you leave a gap in the box for the figures too, you could be in for trouble

- don't leave gaps in the figure box or after the words - instead draw a line along the empty space

- never sign a cheque before it has been fully completed and is about to be used.

For more information about Accountants

Your Rights And Responsibilities

Society. The biggest network of all is that of Girobank which operates through 20,000 post office branches.

If you can't usually get to a branch during opening hours, you may be more concerned about a large cash machine network. Banks and building societies have been joining forces to increase these networks, so you can use most Debit cards in a number of different banks' and societies' machines.

If there's no branch or cash machine to hand, you can cash a bank cheque at any other bank, but you may have to pay up to £6 or so for this service. You'll have to pay the cost of a... see: Your Rights And Responsibilities

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