State Bank of Pakistan allows scanned cheques for payments amid Covid-19

During coronavirus disaster, State Bank of Pakistan to limit person-to-person contact of customers allows Corporate and Priority customers to send scanned cheques for clearance.

State Bank of Pakistan allows scanned cheques for payments amid Covid-19

The covid-19 season is bringing in some silver lining too. State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has released a memo that brings forward a hope for the possibility of sending scanned copies of paper cheques received from clients by the businesses.

As per State Bank’s Payment System Department (PSD) Point #5 of the memo PSD Circular No. 04 of 2020 which states that banks may allow their Corporate and Priority customers to send them the scanned image of the cheque along with relevant details of the beneficiary.

Memo says that these details can be sent either through registered emails or through mobile Apps of their banks to push funds from their accounts to the payee bank.

The industry leaders denoting these steps ‘a blessing in disguise’. This decision was much awaited to speedup the banking process and to go for paperless banking.

SBP says that such arrangement must be duly agreed with the customers under proper terms & conditions along with complete disclosure of risks and liabilities.

Further explaining the process, the Bank says that the Paying or Drawee bank shall implement all necessary controls including call back confirmation or multifactor authentication to ascertain the authenticity and genuineness of the instrument and identity of the payee.

The memo states that upon satisfactory validation, Paying or drawee bank may transfer funds to beneficiary bank using Mail Transfer (MT) Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) through Pakistan Real Time Interbank Settlement Mechanism (PRISM), MT 102 of RTGS (PRISM).

Further, to maintain social distancing, Banks and Microfinance Banks (MFBs)may also decide with the National Institutional Facilitation Technologies (Pvt) Ltd. (NIFT) for clearing cheques through Image Based Clearing (IBC) functions as per the mutually decided SOPs between bank and NIFT.

SBP also announced ‘Direct Cheque Deposit Facility’, a crossed cheque may be presented by payee/beneficiary directly into the paying/drawee bank, instead of their bank branches as per the existing practice.

Another facility announced by SBP is ‘Doorstep Cheque Collection Facility’, where Banks/MFBs may plan to collect cheque from registered addresses of their customers upon their request.

Moreover, ‘Drop box Cheque Collection Facility’ also introduced where customers may drop their cheques in drop boxes of their Banks, installed in selected branches.