Nearly half of UK businesses have suffered a bounced cheque over the last 12 months, according to a survey by the Better Payment Practice Group.
Businesses with ten to 49 employees are worst affected, with nearly two thirds admitting that they have received a bounced cheque.
Of 552 respondents, 46 per cent admitted that they had been caught out.
Businesses with 10-49 employees had suffered the most, with 61 per cent affected.
However, larger companies had also been stung, with 52 per cent of medium companies, those with 50-249 employees, and 57 per cent of large companies, those with more than 250 employees, being bounced in the last 12 months.
Micro companies, with 0- 9 employees, fared best, with 38 per cent suffering.
Clive Lewis, a member of the Better Payment Practice Group and head of SME Issues at the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales, said: "The survey highlights the fact that bounced cheques are a real problem for businesses.
"It is interesting to note that micro businesses suffer fewer bounced cheques than larger companies. This may be because, due to their smaller client base, micro companies are able to gain a more detailed knowledge of their customers. Building strong relationships with customers, particularly the major purchasers, is important as it can be an excellent way to encourage priority payment."
He continued: "It is essential to credit check new customers before issuing credit and to continue to monitor their payment practices."