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RBI pushes enhanced safety for cheques above ₹50,000

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in its monetary policy announcement on Thursday, kept the key repo rate unchanged at 4%. However, keeping consumer safety in focus and to lower the cases of fraud and abuse with respect to cheque payments, governor Shaktikanta Das said all cheques of value above 50,000 will come with a mechanism of positive pay.

Cheques with a value of 50,000 and above will be processed for payment by the drawee bank based on the information furnished by the customer at the time of issuance of the cheque. A drawee bank is one who has been directed by the depositor to pay the sum of amount to the person receiving the cheque.

This measure is expected to cover about 20% of the cheques issued in the country by volume and about 80% by value. RBI is expected to publish the guidelines on the same shortly.

“Positive Pay is essentially an automated fraud detection tool. Very simply, it matches specific information related to the cheque presented for clearing, such as the cheque number, cheque date, payee name, account number, amount, and other details against a list of cheques previously authorized and issued by the issuer. Unless all the specified components of the cheque match exactly, the cheque will not be cleared,” said Adhil Shetty, CEO, Bankbazaar, an online financial services marketplace.

Positive pay ensures that your bank has as a way of ascertaining that the cheque has been issued by you and can be cleared. The provision will reduce the chances of fraud and cheques bouncing. Currently, the cheque truncation system (CTS) used for clearing cheques pan India covers 2% of total retail payments in terms and volume and 15% by value and the average value of cheque cleared in CTS presently is 82,000.

Further, in a bid to enhance the adoption of digital payments in remote areas, which are currently hindered due to lack of internet connectivity, RBI has decided to provide an option of off-line payments through cards, wallets and mobile devices.

The central bank has proposed to allow a pilot scheme for small-value payments in off-line mode with in-built features for safeguarding the interest of users, liability protection, and so on. “Going forward, we can expect to see card- and wallet-based solutions similar to UPI payment transactions using USSD code that is now possible even without internet or smartphones,” said Shetty.

Detailed guidelines for the scheme are expected to be announced in due course.

Also, grievance redressal for online payments is set to be easier going forward, with RBI mandating payment system (PSO) operators to introduce online dispute resolution (ODR) systems. The implementation would be in a phased manner, starting with ODR systems for failed transactions.

“This acts as the first step for customers in case of a dispute or grievance regarding a payment transaction and simplifies the process of registering a complaint in such cases. Such a measure will give people greater confidence while transacting digitally,” Shetty said.

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