I've posted a comment on this thread. Here is the full text of what I wrote:
The fact is that general ad-hoc payments between any person or company/entity is still 'best' done by sending cheques.
If I can pay a person/company by writing their name on a cheque together with the amount and a signature, why can't I do the same thing electronically, with equivalent measures of security and accountability in place?
Concerns about security of online payments, I feel, are quite adequately addressed by the use of two-factor authentication.
The fear about revealing account numbers for online payment, while irrational, can also be addressed by using some form of unique textual identifier (like an email address, just for example). Since cheques only have a recipient name, they are also subject to ambiguity.
Vincent Sear made a very valid point - that companies/entities who issue cheques already reveal their account numbers which are printed on the cheques!!!
The e-cheque system is just a wrapper around the same archaic, inefficient system that still sends paper cheques around. The fundamental issue doesn't get solved. Even some internet banking payments ultimately send a paper cheque on your bahalf! This defeats the whole purpose of having electronic payments in the first place.
Clearing cheques between banks do take time. There is a delay before getting your money, not to mention you have to physically visit the deposit box in the first place. Furthermore, you are also subject to the delay introduced by the postal system, which means you will never know whether your "last-minute" payment will arrive on-time.
More payment modes => higher costs? Not necessarily because electronic payment doesn't incur any work/cost beyond the initial setup.
In fact, a convenient electronic payment system is already upon us. Think PayPal, but integrated into our local banking system.