Tesco and Asda are taking steps to reduce cheque use dramatically in a bid to cut fraud and delays at tills.

Asda is running a trial in which customers who ask to pay by cheque are allowed to, but are notified that they will not be allowed to do so again. The trial has been running at 21 Asda stores within the M25 area since March.

An Asda spokeswoman said: "We are trying to give customers the best service at checkouts. Queues are a bugbear and paying by cheque takes more time than paying by debit card or cash. We would like to try it elsewhere, depending on how the pilot goes."

Meanwhile, one Tesco superstore visited by The Grocer was running a local trial where it did not accept cheques at all. Tesco is also running a trial in some stores where shoppers paying by cheque cannot spend above their cheque card guarantee limit.

A Tesco spokeswoman said the trials were designed to combat fraud, but added that it would continue to accept cheques, as they remained useful to customers. Sainsbury's and Morrisons said they would continue to accept cheques.

Only 5% of retail spending is still paid by cheque, compared with more than 60% by debit or credit card, according to APACS, the UK payments association.