To combat the potential spread of COVID-19 pandemic by limiting person-to-person interaction and to provide ease of services to the customers, State Bank of Pakistan has said that commercial banks may allow corporate and priority customers to use scanned images of cheques 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.
However, such an arrangement must be duly agreed with the customer under proper terms and conditions along with complete disclosure of risks and liabilities.
The Paying/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. Upon satisfactory validation, the paying/drawee bank may transfer funds to the beneficiary bank using MT 102 of RTGS (PRISM).
SBP further said that banks should also implement additional risk-mitigating measures as per their internal policies while offering these services to their customers.
To minimize person-to-person interaction, commercial and microfinance banks may also make arrangements with the Clearing House (NIFT) for clearing their cheques through Image-Based Clearing (IBC) functionality as per the agreed SOPs between NIFT and banks.
While transferring funds through RTGS, the concerned banks shall ensure compliance with relevant clauses of PSD Circular No. 3 of 2018 on “Electronic Fund Transfers Regulations”. Banks are advised to follow all relevant laws, rules, and regulations issued by SBP from time to time.
SBP Eases Off Requirement for Payment Through Cheques
Banks are allowed to provide direct cheque deposit facility to their customers under which 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.
In this case, funds may be transferred by the paying/drawee bank either through RTGS customer fund transfer – MT102 or Over the Counter (OTC) IBFT or Bank’s internal online system (in case both payer & payee banks are the same).
Before debiting their customer’s account, the paying/drawee bank must take all necessary precautions including but not limited to customer call back or multifactor authentication to verify the authenticity/genuineness of the instrument and verification of their respective customers.
Similarly, before crediting the customer account, the payee/beneficiary bank must ensure the authenticity of the customer’s credentials as well.
Doorstep/Dropbox Cheque Collection Facility
Banks/MFBs may make arrangements to collect the cheque from the registered addresses of their customers upon their request. Customers may also drop their cheques in drop boxes of their banks, installed in selected branches.