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Online payments - advice and guidance

In order to support the Beds, Cambs and Herts corporate vision to embrace digital innovation and provide digital services to members of the public, the Firearms and Explosives Licensing department have adopted a digital payment facility.

Cheques will no longer be accepted unless under exceptional circumstances.

A programme of change is underway that will gradually introduce the inclusion of online submission of all forms and notifications and we hope to be fully online with all requirements by the end of the current financial year.

At this point, however, application forms still need to be completed and posted along with one recent photograph and land/club form where relevant - only the payment method will change.

What are the benefits to our customers?

We are confident that the opinion of the vast majority of the shooting community is that digital services are long overdue and we are therefore attempting to comply with this requirement.

Digital payments will improve the service we provide to you by reducing administration requirements; cheques occasionally bounce and are often completed incorrectly, which causes further additional administration and delays your application.

The payment request also acts as confirmation that we have received your paperwork. We receive an average of 30 calls or emails per day asking us to confirm receipt of paperwork, which of course with limited resources, prevents us from getting on with your application.

The is a secure online payment method, used for other services such as passport and vehicle tax so will already be very familiar to many of our customers.

How does it work?

Please download the appropriate application form and post this to us along with one recent photograph not previously used on an application and land/club form where relevant – do not enclose payment at this stage. We are aware that the statutory form still says ‘enclose payment’ and four photos.  However, since this is a national form, we are unable to amend it.

It is essential that you include an email address on your application.

When we receive your application, we will email you a link to the secure payments page, including your unique reference number. The email will not contain any personal/banking information. When received, follow the link and complete the payment, confirming your reference number. You will then receive confirmation that payment has been successful.

What if I can’t comply?

Put simply, it depends why you feel you are unable to comply. A simple resistance to change, because, perhaps, you do not currently use electronic payments is not, in our view, a reasonable objection given the widespread benefits and ease of availability.

If you feel, however, that you are unable to comply with the digital payment requirements because you have a characteristic protected by the Equality Act 2010, please email us or write to us when you send in your application, and we will assess your requirements on an individual basis.

What if I don’t have an email address, or a debit or credit card?

We send renewal reminders 12 weeks prior to expiry. We therefore feel that this gives sufficient notice to anyone who does not currently have an email address or debit card to make suitable arrangements.

Payments can be made with debit or credit cards.

If you do not have your own email address, we would encourage you to obtain one given that all future business will be carried out online. Email accounts are simple to set up and free via various providers, for example ‘Outlook,’ ‘Gmail’ and ‘Hotmail.'

If you are unable to obtain your own email address because you do not have a device that enables you to send/receive emails please consider approaching trusted family or friends to establish if they are willing to receive emails on your behalf. Remember, no banking details will be contained within the email.

The bank account/credit card used to make the payment does not have to be in your name so can be made by any other person, if that assists you.

PC’s with internet access are free to use at public libraries, or for a minimal fee if you are not a library member. Libraries often also offer assistance and free workshops in this area.

Banks no longer issue chequebooks unless requested. If you do not currently have a payment card but do have a current account, your bank will provide you with a card usually free of charge.

We will not allow a holder to expire due to complications with complying with this process. If you are nearing renewal and are experiencing problems, please contact us and we will do all we can to assist you.


Extensive research tells us that the majority of the general population are using the internet and emails regularly and are well versed with online payments.

Government statistics from 2019 show that 87% of all adults used the internet daily or almost daily, and that email remains the most common internet activity. 61% of households that did not, stated this was because they did not currently have the need.

Two thirds of households now have mobile broadband access and 54% of adults aged 65 years and over shopped online. Service providers can choose what payment method they accept. Cheques are not legal tender and businesses are not obliged to accept them. They are not a promise to pay by the bank as the cheque guarantee system was abolished in 2011. The use of cheques has declined in 2019 by 79%.

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