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Saturday, May 12, 2012

RBI urges banks to levy fixed rates on cheques above Rs 1 lakh

The Reserve Bank of India has asked banks to levy fixed service charges for cheques valued above Rs 1 lakh cleared through speed clearing and outstation cheque clearing mechanism.

The central bank issued this instruction as it has come across instances of banks levying charges on an arbitrary percentage to the value of the cheque.

In a notification, the RBI said, “Banks, which have fixed their service charges for out-station or speed clearing for instruments valuing above Rs One lakh as percentage to the value of instruments are, therefore, advised to review the same and fix the charges on a cost-plus basis.”

The customers must be notified about the revised charges structure. It may also be placed on the bank’s website. This has been done to encourage the use of speed clearing and national clearing facilities.

Speed clearing refers to collection of outstation cheques (a cheque drawn on non-local bank branch) through the local clearing. It facilitates collection of cheques drawn on outstation core-banking-enabled branches of banks, if they have a net-worked branch locally.

Meanwhile, the central bank has also issued guidelines for clearing of cheques with no formal clearing house.

It said that the banks must put in place arrangements to ensure that the instruments drawn on other banks are delivered or exchanged at a mutually decided place and time on each working day.

While doing so, banks must ensure that the cheque’s fate is known on the same day and the return instruments are re-exchanged at a mutually decided place and time.

Banks are advised to instruct their branches in such locations to adhere to the said guidelines for faster realisation of cheques and better customer service, said the RBI.


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