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Q&A: Are the days of the paper cheque over?

Steven Nogalo is vice-president and general manager of Payments and Mobile Financial Solutions for NCR, a Waterloo, Ont., company. His group designs technology for banks.

Rosa Park

There will come a day when paper cheques are no longer used in Canada – although it's some way off. New imaging technology is changing the way we bank and how we monitor our personal finances – whether it's on your smartphone, at the ATM or in the bank branch.

The federal government, the biggest user of cheques in Canada, decided on April 11 to phase out cheques for its payments. It will instead focus on direct deposit for outgoing funds starting in April of 2016.

"Electronic payment is growing and it's replacing certain amounts of cheque volumes. So we do expect to see the overall number of cheques continue to decline," says Steven Nogalo of NCR, a Waterloo, Ont., company.

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His firm designs technology for banks and will be providing much of the technology behind a particular shift in consumer habits. Some time later this year, Canadian banks will be able to offer photo cheque cashing, eliminating the need for a paper cheque and improving the efficiency and convenience.

The technology will allow consumers to simply take out a smartphone, use the camera to snap a picture of each side of the cheque, then e-mail it directly to a bank.

Mr. Nogalo, vice-president and general manager Payments and Mobile Financial Solutions, joined Globe readers for a discussion of the coming technological change in banking.

NCR is a global leader in the research and development of imaging solutions for financial institutions around the world, earning more than 239 patents. Its clients include the largest banks, in the largest countries and fastest growing economies around the globe. Most of the payments solutions it has developed are used outside of Canada – especially in the United States where regulations were changed in 2004 , resulting in an explosion in the popularity of photo cheque cashing.

Read about this payment trend here. Then, read this discussion about the pros and cons of banking on your smartphone.

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