In what is being described as the latest nail in the coffin of cheques, UK high street retailer Boots has revealed that it is planning to ban the payment option from its stores by Christmas.

The move by the leading pharmacy and health and beauty products seller follows similar moves by fuel retailer Shell and supermarket chains Asda and Tesco.

The transition to cheque-free stores will initially start with a one-month trial in 46 outlets in Surrey and Sussex, commencing at the end of September. If the trial is successful, which is Boots’ expectation, the cheque ban will be extended to all 1,500 Boots outlets nationwide.

The move comes as the major retailer has witnessed cheque transactions in its stores plummet following the introduction of chip & PIN technology. Boots says that cheques now account for just 0.1% of transactions.

With most age groups within society now confidently using payment cards and chip & PIN technology, the decision to remove the much slower payment form is likely to be approved by the majority. However, critics of the development have argued that the elderly, who are far more comfortable with using cheques, are likely to be alienated and isolated by the change.