SBP slashes cheque clearance time in wake of coronavirus outbreak

Web Desk
March 28, 2020

The step comes as the state bank is trying to reduce person-to-person interaction to stem the spread of the virus

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ISLAMABAD: The State Bank of Pakistan, in its bid to curb the spread of coronavirus, has slashed the time of clearing a cheque, the institution said in a circular issued on Saturday.

In a circular, the SBP said that according to the new instructions, the payee (person depositing the cheque) can now deposit the cheque directly into the drawee's bank, instead of their own branch.

The step comes as the state bank is trying to reduce person-to-person interaction.

The SPB has advised the drawee's bank to transfer funds through RTGS customer fund transfer, MT102, Over the Counter (OTC) IBFT or the bank’s internal online system.

The drawee's bank has to ensure that it verifies and authenticates its customer through customer call bank before debiting the account, while the payee's bank needs to authenticate their customer’s credentials before crediting the customer account as well.

The SBP has allowed banks to collect cheques from registered addresses of their customers, upon their request, while customers can now drop their cheques in drop boxes of their banks, installed in selected branches.

"Banks may allow their Corporates/Priority customers to send them the scanned image of the cheque along with relevant details of the Beneficiary either through registered emails or through mobile Apps of their banks to push funds from their accounts to the payee bank," the circular read.

On March 18, the SBP directed banks to make digital payments easy to discourage people from going to ATMs and banks as the coronavirus continues to spread across the country.

"The objective of these measures is to reduce the need for visiting bank branches or the ATMs and to promote the use of Digital Payment Services such as internet banking, mobile phone banking, etc," read a statement from the SBP.

The state bank had instructed banks to waive off all charges on online banking channels such as Inter Bank Fund Transfer (IBFT) and SBP’s Real Time Gross Settlement System. People will be able to transfer funds through phones and online.

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