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Reserve Bank of India to do away with need to return paid government cheques to depts

Easing norms to enhance efficiency of cheque clearing system, the Reserve Bank will do away with the requirement of returning back paid government cheques to the concerned departments.

Presently Cheque Truncation System (CTS) is used to clear cheques that facilitates presentation and payment of cheques without their physical movement.

However, with regard to government cheques, they need to be sent back in physical form after the payment has been made to the government departments.

“The matter relating to dispensation of this requirement was taken up with the government and…the Controller General of Accounts, Ministry of Finance has given approval to our proposal of doing away with the requirement of returning paid government cheques back to government departments concerned,” RBI said in notification.

The revised guidelines would be effective from October 1, 2014, RBI said.

Accordingly, RBI said the government cheques would be paid in CTS clearing based on their electronic images. If any drawee bank wants to verify government cheque in physical form before passing it for payment, the image would be returned unpaid under the reason ‘present with documents’.

“The presenting bank shall ensure that the instrument is presented again in the next applicable clearing session without any reference to the account holder,” RBI said.

Among others, RBI said both the presenting and draweee banks need to preserve the cheques for a period of 10 years.

“In case some specific cheques are required for the purpose of any investigation, enquiry, etc., under the law, they may be preserved beyond 10 years.”

Also, government cheques paid by a drawee bank across its counter by cash withdrawal or transfer also needs truncation and preserved for 10 years and the drawee bank should continue to send the payment scrolls, monthly DMS, to government department.

“They should ensure that the mistakes/discrepancies pointed out are rectified as per procedure, missing images of paid cheques are submitted immediately, the copies of the scrolls duly verified by the PAO are kept on its record.”

Further, it said government may require any paid cheque in physical form for reconciliation, enquiry, investigation, and they can approach the drawee bank.

Source: The Economic times 

Suggestions / best practices for increasing the penetration (customer registration / on-boarding) of Mobile Banking

Following are the Suggestions / best practices for increasing the penetration (customer registration / on-boarding) of Mobile Banking:

1. New Customer: at account opening time

  • Account opening form should clearly indicate the option for mobile banking – the option for mobile banking services should be clear and distinct from the contact details of the customer where mobile number is also accepted; it should also be clearly indicated that alerts (if sent through SMS) will be sent to this registered mobile number.
  • Customer should be made aware of the mobile banking facilities while opening the account. Further, the form should also clearly indicate that opting for mobile banking services will provide an alternate delivery channel to the customer; related inputs / materials / booklet etc. should be provided to the interested customers outlining the features of mobile banking services offered by the bank, the process involved, roles and responsibilities etc.

2. Existing Customer- Mobile numbers registered with the bank but not active for mobile banking:

  • As mobile number registration has already taken place and available with the bank (is linked with the account), wider and more accessible platforms should also be made use of by the banks to increase awareness on mobile banking at every opportunity to get more and more customers to register for mobile banking services. Some of the methods that can be adopted by banks for having targeted customer awareness programs could include:
  • Sending SMS / e-mails to their customers on registered mobile numbers / e-mail ids about activating mobile banking, providing necessary URLs / customer care numbers from which the customer can obtain additional information on mobile banking activation process;
  • ATMs and self-service Kiosks at branches can also alert the customers to activate the mobile banking options;
  • Social media can also be used by the banks to build awareness and encourage customers to register on mobile banking;
  • Through the internet banking website of the bank especially when the customer logs in for net banking operations (taking into account the security architecture and authentication mechanism already prevalent in the bank/s);
  • Banks can use their IVR and phone banking channels to encourage and facilitate registration and activation of customers for mobile banking;
  • Banks can also harness the potential of inter-operable channels such as the NFS (which is widely used by customers for transacting with their cards) to provide a widely accessible channel for mobile banking registration;

3. Existing Customer- Mobile number not registered with the bank at all

  • Banks need to find ways of obtaining mobile numbers of the account holders first for registration in their database and subsequently for mobile banking registration. Some of the options that can be used for this purpose are:
  • Through ATM channel – an alert / message can be given (at the ATM itself) by banks when the customer transacts at the ATM, that she/he has not registered any mobile number with the bank
  • Branch visit- at teller level, when the customer comes to the teller for any cash deposit / withdrawal transaction, the customer profile should indicate that he/she has not registered the mobile number at the bank and should be asked to do so immediately
  • Similarly, at passbook printing counters / kiosks too, the customer profile should be verified for existence of mobile number and customer should be advised to register the mobile number when he/she uses the passbook printing kiosk
  • At BC level with biometric authentication

Five important rules about Cheques

The Reserve Bank of India recently implemented many new cheque rules to handle the rise in cheque related fraud cases. Some of them has been given below:

1) SMS alerts: The RBI asked banks to send an SMS alert to both payer and drawer when the cheque is received for clearing. Till now, SMS alerts were compulsory only for debit/credit card transactions. While dealing with suspicious or cheques of high value, banks have been asked to alert the customer by a phone call and obtain confirmation from both the parties involved in the transaction. The account holder’s bank branch must also be contacted.

2) Examination of cheques: Besides sending alerts, banks have been asked to examine cheques under UV lamp. This is applicable if the cheque amount goes over Rs 2 lakh. Also, a mechanism must be put in place to ensure multi-level checking of cheques for amount over Rs 5 lakh. Banks are also required to closely monitor how money is deposited or moved out from newly opened transaction accounts.

3) KYC compliance:  Whenever you open a new bank account, you are supposed to go through a process called Know Your Customer or KYC. It ensures that the bank verifies information about you, thus limiting fraud cases. So, the person writing the cheque will be compliant with KYC rules. The RBI now states that even the recipient should be KYC compliant.

4) CTS-2010 cheques: The use of 100% CTS-2010 compliant cheques should be ensured by the bank. As part of the Cheque Truncation System (CTS), an electronic image of the cheque is transmitted to the cheque-writer’s bank branch through the clearing house, along with other relevant information. It helps eliminate the need for physical movement of the cheque for verification. Thus the scope for fraud is reduced.

5) Cheque-handling infrastructure: RBI stated that high quality of equipment and personnel must be ensured for CTS-based clearing.