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With schools and tradesmen looking to exit, it's the end of the cheque era

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It's around this time of year that the back-to-school costs surveys start to pile up, drawing attention once again to the ever-rising costs of putting a child through a primary or secondary school system that is supposed to be 'free'.

One of the more interesting findings in the report from parenting, which surveyed nearly 1,800 parents, was that 91pc of mums would favour a phased payment system throughout the year to incorporate the voluntary contribution, schools books and book rental scheme fees.

Not a bad idea, but the setting up such a structured payment system would no doubt be helped if most schools were able to accept electronic payments.

A report published last year by the Central Bank drew some attention to this fact, revealing that for 94pc of parents of primary school children and 87pc of secondary school, cash and cheques were the primary ways of making payments to schools.

Schools, along with tradesmen and some professional classes, remain one the last bastions of cheque and cash usage as far as consumers are concerned.

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