The Co-operative Bank has signed a five-year extension contract with Unisys Payment Services Limited for continued use of its cheque processing services.

Under the new contract, which is said to be worth more than £30 million, Unisys will provide outsourced cheque processing and image archiving services to the bank. The Co-operative Bank will use Unisys’ Payment Information Engine to store online images of cheques, which staff can access easily online.

John Hughes, director of retail products at The Co-operative Bank, said: “The Co-operative Bank will require Unisys to process hundreds of millions of cheques. Using Unisys cheque processing services, we can reduce risk, improve operational effectiveness and maintain a high standard of customer service.”

The contract is set to end in 2015, close to the October 2018 deadline that has been set for cheques to be abolished as a payment method in the UK. The Co-operative Bank is part of the CIO 100 listed Co-operative Group.

Early last year Nationwide, the building society, outsourced its cheque processing to Unisys in a bid to cut costs and free staff time.