RBI extends deadline for standardising cheques

The Reserve Bank of India on Friday extended the deadline for banks to standardise their cheque leaves under the new cheque truncation system (CTS-2010 Standard cheques) to 31 March after finding that banks are not in a position to meet the earlier deadline of 31 December.

An earlier RBI notification said banks were barred from accepting non-CTS cheques from 1 January. The lenders were asked to issue only CTS cheques not later than end-September and withdraw all old cheques by the year-end. However, the process of notifying the customers and replacing cheque books is not progressing on schedule.

The RBI said that the residual non-CTS cheques that appear in the clearing system after the extended deadline of 31 March would continue to be accepted, but would be cleared at less frequent intervals.

 ''While most of the banks have confirmed that they are issuing only multi-city/payable at par CTS-2010 standard cheques at present, representations have been received from various stakeholders requesting for extension of the time beyond December 31 2012, for withdrawal / replacement of non-CTS-2010 Standard cheques / post-dated EMI cheques with CTS-2010 standard cheques,'' RBI said in a notification to all banks.

'Cheque Truncation System (CTS)-2010 standard' is a set of benchmarks towards achieving standardisation of cheques issued by banks across the country. These include provision of mandatory minimum security features on cheque forms such as quality of paper, watermark, the bank's logo in invisible ink, void pantograph and standardisation of field placements on cheques.

Adherence to CTS-2010 Standards has inherent advantages as the security features in cheque forms help the presenting banks to identify the genuineness of the drawee banks' instruments while handling them in the image-based scenario.

''The homogeneity in security features acts as deterrent against frauds, and the fixed field placement specifications facilitate straight-through-processing at the drawee banks' end through the use of optical/image character recognition technology,'' the RBI had said in its earlier notification.