Archive for the ‘Reserve Bank of India’ Category

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Speed Clearing

Question 1- What is Speed Clearing?

Answer- 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.

Question 2- Why Speed Clearing?

Answer– The collection of outstation cheques, till now, required movement of cheques from the Presentation centre (city where the cheque is presented) to Drawee centre (city where the cheque is payable) which increases the realisation time for cheques. Speed Clearing aims to reduce the time taken for realisation of outstation cheques.

Question 3What was the process followed by banks for collection of outstation cheques before the introduction of Speed Clearing?

Answer- A person who has an outstation cheque with him deposits it with his bank branch. This bank branch is called the Presenting branch. The cheque is sent for collection to the city where it is payable / drawn called Destination centre or Drawee centre. The branch providing the collection service at the Destination centre is called the Collecting branch. On receipt of the cheque, the Collecting branch presents it in local clearing to the Drawee branch or the Destination branch. Once the cheque is paid the Collecting branch remits the proceeds to the Presenting branch. On receipt of realisation advice of the cheque from the Collecting branch, the customer’s account is credited. This, in short, is the process of Collection. When a cheque is accepted on a collection basis by a bank, it credits the customer’s account only after realisation of its proceeds.

Alternatively, in the absence of a collection arrangement at the Destination centre, the Presenting branch will send the cheque directly to the Destination branch for payment. On receiving the proceeds from Destination branch, Presenting branch credits the customer’s account.

Question 4- How long does it take for getting credit of an outstation cheque sent on Collection basis?

Answer- Generally, it takes around a week to three weeks time depending on the drawee centre and collection arrangements to get outstation cheques realised on a Collection basis.

Question 5- How does the Local Cheque Clearing work?

Answer- In Local Cheque Clearing in 66 major centres, cheques are processed at the Clearing Houses on mechanised sorters, using Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) technology.

Local Clearing handles only those cheques that are drawn on branches within the jurisdiction of the local Clearing House. Generally, the distance between the Clearing House and the participating branches is defined, taking into account the local transportation and communication facilities as the cheques have to physically move to and from the Clearing House. For example, for a cheque to be processed in Local Clearing in Mumbai, both the presenting and drawee branches should be situated within the jurisdiction of the Clearing House in Mumbai.

Question 6- How does the Speed Clearing work?

Answer- Banks have networked their branches by implementing Core Banking Solutions (CBS). In CBS environment, cheques can be paid at any location obviating the need for their physical movement to the Drawee branch. The concept of Speed Clearing combines the advantages of MICR clearing with that of CBS.

Cheques drawn on outstation CBS branches of a Drawee bank can be processed in the Local Clearing under the Speed Clearing arrangement if the Drawee bank has a branch presence at the local centre.

Question 7When will the beneficiary get funds under Speed Clearing?

Answer- As on date, the local cheques are processed on T+1 working day basis and customers get the benefit of withdrawal of funds on a T+1 or 2 basis. ‘T’ denotes transaction day viz. date of presentation of cheque at the Clearing House. So, the outstation cheques under Speed Clearing will also be paid on T+1 or 2 basis.

Question 8- Which are the centres where Speed Clearing is presently available?

Answer- List of Speed Clearing centres is available at the link

Question 9- What are the charges for cheques cleared through Speed Clearing?

Answer- Presenting branches are currently permitted to levy charges at a rate not exceeding Rs.150 per cheque (inclusive of all charges other than Service Tax) for cheques of above Rs. 1 lakh presented through Speed Clearing. No charges are payable for cheques of value up to Rs. 1 lakh. With effect from April 1, 2011, no charges will be payable for cheques of value up to and including Rs. 1 lakh from Savings a/c customers. Banks would be free to fix charges for collection of other types of accounts for all values and also from Savings a/c customers for cheque of value above Rs. 1 lakh. Charges fixed should be reasonable and computed on a cost-plus-basis and not as an arbitrary percentage of the value of the instrument.

Question 10- How is Speed Clearing an improvement over collection basis?

Answer– Outstation cheque collection through collection basis takes around one to three weeks time depending on the drawee centre. Under Speed Clearing, it would be realised on T+1 or 2 basis viz. within 48 hours. Further customers need not incur any service charge for collection of outstation cheques (value up to Rs. 1 lakh) in Speed Clearing which they may have to incur if such cheque is collected under collection basis.

Question 11- How will a customer know whether a cheque can be cleared in Speed Clearing?

Answer- For facilitating customers to know CBS status of a branch, some of the banks stamp / print ‘CBS’ on the cheque leaves. Account numbers (if length of account number is more than 10 digits) printed on the cheque leaves may give a broad indication regarding CBS status of the branch. Further customers may refer to the list of Speed Clearing-enabled bank branches hosted on the website of the Reserve Bank of India under the link

Question 12- What type of cheques can be presented in Speed Clearing?

Answer- Instruments of all transaction codes (except Government cheques) which are drawn on CBS-enabled bank branches are eligible for being presented in Speed Clearing.

DISCLAIMER: The FAQs have been prepared for the general awareness of customers regarding collection of outstation cheques through Speed Clearing. Customers may contact their bank branches for further details.

Source: Reserve Bank of India- FAQs on Speed Clearing updated on 31/01/2012

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007

Q1. When did Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (PSS Act, 2007) came into effect?

Ans. The PSS Act, 2007 received the assent of the President on 20th December 2007 and it came into force with effect from 12th August 2008.

Q2. What is the objective of the PSS Act, 2007?

Ans. The PSS Act, 2007 provides for the regulation and supervision of payment systems in India and designates the Reserve Bank of India (Reserve Bank) as the authority for that purpose and all related matters. The Reserve Bank is authorized under the Act to constitute a Committee of its Central Board known as the Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payment and Settlement Systems (BPSS), to exercise its powers and perform its functions and discharge its duties under this statute.  The Act also provides the legal basis for “netting” and “settlement finality”. This is of great importance, as in India, other than the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system all other payment systems function on a net settlement basis.

Q3. What are the Reguations made under the PSS Act, 2007 and when did they come into force?

Ans. Under the PSS Act, 2007, two Regulations have been made by the Reserve Bank of India, namely, the Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payment and Settlement Systems Regulation, 2008 and   the Payment and Settlement Systems Regulations, 2008. Both these Regulations came into force along with the PSS Act, 2007 on 12th August 2008.

Q4. What are the objectives of these two Regulations?

Ans. The Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payment and Settlement Systems Regulation, 2008 deals with the constitution of the Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payment and Settlement System (BPSS), a Committee of the Central Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of India. It also deals with the composition of the BPSS, its powers and functions, exercising of powers on behalf of BPSS, meetings of the BPSS and quorum, the constitution of Sub-Committees/Advisory Committees by BPSS, etc.,  The BPSS exercises the powers on behalf of the Reserve Bank, for regulation and supervision of the payment and settlement systems under the PSS Act, 2007.
The Payment and Settlement Systems Regulations, 2008 covers matters  like form of application for authorization for commencing/ carrying on a payment system and grant of authorization, payment instructions and determination of standards of payment systems, furnishing of returns/documents/other information, furnishing of accounts and balance sheets by system provider etc., .

Q5. Does the PSS Act, 2007 define what is a “payment obligation”, “payment instruction”, “payment system” and other commonly used terms like “electronic fund transfer”, “gross settlement system”, “netting”, “settlement”, “systemic risk”, “system participant” and “system provider”?

Ans. Yes, these terms are defined in Section 2 (1) of the PSS Act, 2007.

Q6. What is a “Payment Obligation”?

Ans. “Payment obligation” is defined as what is owed by one participant in a payment system to another such participant which results from clearing or settlement or payment instructions relating to funds, securities or foreign exchange or derivatives or other transactions.

Q7. What is a “Payment Instruction”?

Ans. “Payment Instruction” is defined as any instrument, authorization or order in any form, including by electronic means, to effect a payment  by a person to a participant in a payment system or from one participant in such a system to another participant in that system.
The payment instruction can be communicated either manually i.e. through   an instrument  like a cheque ,draft , payment order etc or through electronic means, so that a payment can be made by either a person to the participant in such a system or between two participants.

Q8. What is a “Settlement”?

Ans. “Settlement” means the settlement of payment instructions received and these include settlement of securities, foreign exchange or derivatives or other transactions.
Settlement can take place either on a net basis or on a gross basis. Both netting and gross settlement system are defined under the Act.

Q9. What is a “Payment System” under the PSS Act, 2007?

Ans. Section 2(1) (i) of the PSS Act 2007 defines a payment system to mean a system that enables payment to be effected between a payer and a beneficiary, involving clearing, payment or settlement service or all of them, but does not include a stock exchange (Section 34 of the PSS Act 2007 states that its provisions will not apply to stock exchanges or clearing corporations set up under stock exchanges).  It is further stated by way of an explanation that a “payment system” includes the systems enabling credit card operations, debit card operations, smart card operations, money transfer operations or similar operations.

All systems (except stock exchanges and clearing corporations set up under stock exchanges) carrying out either clearing or settlement or payment operations or all of them are regarded as payment systems. All entities operating such systems will be known as system providers. Also all entities operating money transfer systems or card payment systems or similar systems fall within the definition of a system provider. To decide whether a particular entity operates the payment system, it must perform either the clearing or settlement or payment function or all of them.

Q10. Are entities operating a payment system or intending to operate a payment system required to get a license, approval or authorization for the purpose?

Ans. In terms of Section 4 of the PSS Act, 2007 no person other than the Reserve Bank can operate or commence a payment system unless authorized by the Reserve Bank. Any person desirous of commencing or operating a payment system needs to apply for authorization under the PSS Act, 2007(Section 5).

The application for authorization has to be made as per Form A under Regulation 3(2) of the Payment and Settlement Systems Regulations, 2008. The application is required to be duly filled up and submitted with the stipulated documents to the Reserve Bank.

All entities operating payment systems or desirous of setting up such systems are required to apply for authorization under the Act. Any unauthorized operation of a payment system would be an offence under the PSS Act, 2007 and accordingly liable for penal action under that Act.

Q11. Is there any application fee to be submitted along with the application for authorization?

Ans. A sum of Rs 10,000/- is required to be submitted as application fee, which can be submitted by cash or cheque or payment order or demand draft or electronic fund transfer in favour of the Reserve Bank along with the application for authorisation.

Q12. What are the factors which the Reserve Bank will consider while deciding on an application submitted for authorization?

Ans. The Reserve Bank will consider factors like the need for the proposed payment system, the technical standards and design of proposed system, the security procedures and  terms and conditions of operation of the proposed system, the procedure for netting of payment instructions, risk management processes, financial status of the applicant, experience of management and integrity of applicant, consumer interests, monetary and credit policies and other relevant factors while deciding on an application for authorization for commencing or operating a payment system (Section 7 of PSS Act, 2007).

The Reserve Bank will endeavour to dispose of all applications received for authorization within six months from the date of their receipt.

Q13. Can the Reserve Bank refuse to grant authorization to commence or operate a payment system?

Ans. Yes, the Reserve Bank can refuse to grant authorization under the PSS Act, 2007.However, the Reserve Bank has to give a written notice to such an applicant giving the reasons for refusal and also a reasonable opportunity of being heard {Section7 (3) of the PSS Act 2007}.

Q14. Can the Reserve Bank revoke authorization granted under the PSS Act 2007?

Yes, the Reserve Bank is empowered to revoke the authorization granted by it, if the system provider contravenes any provisions of the Act or Regulations, fails to comply with its orders/ directions or violates the terms and conditions under which the authorization was granted to it (Section 8 of PSS Act 2007).

Q15. Is there any appellate authority to whom an aggrieved applicant whose application for authorization is refused or a system provider whose authorization is revoked, can appeal?

Ans. The aggrieved applicant or aggrieved system provider can appeal to the Central Government within 30 days from the date on which the order of refusal or revocation is conveyed to him (Section 9 of PSS Act, 2007).

Q16. Can the Reserve Bank collect any authorisation fees and direct the applicant to furnish a security deposit?

Ans. Yes, Section 7 of the PSS Act, 2007 empowers the Reserve Bank to collect authorization fees while granting authorization.   It can also call upon the applicant to furnish a security deposit for the proper conduct of the payment system. The quantum of authorization fees and security deposit can be decided by the Reserve Bank.

Q17. Does the Reserve Bank have powers to lay down any standards?

Ans. The Reserve Bank is empowered to prescribe the format of payment instructions, size and shape of instructions, timings to be maintained by payment systems, manner of funds transfer criteria for membership including continuation, termination and rejection of membership, terms and conditions for participation in the payment system etc (Section 10 of PSS Act, 2007).

Q18. Whether the Reserve Bank can call for returns, information etc., from the system provider with regard to the operation of the payment system?

Ans. The Reserve Bank is empowered to call for from the system provider returns, documents and other information relating to the operation of the payment system. The system provider and all system participants are required to provide Reserve Bank access to any information relating to the operation of the payment system (Section 12 and 13 of PSS Act, 2007).

Q19. Can the Reserve Bank inspect the premises of the system provider?

Ans. The Reserve Bank, in order to ensure compliance of the provisions of the PSS Act, 2007 and the Regulations made thereunder, can depute an officer authorized by it to enter any premises where a payment system is being operated, inspect any equipment, including any computer system or document, and call upon any employee of the system provider or participant to provide any document or information as required by it (Section 14 of PSS Act,  2007).

Q20. Can the Reserve Bank issue directions to the system provider?

Ans. The Reserve Bank is authorized to issue directions to a payment system or system participant to cease or desist from engaging in any act, omission or course of conduct or direct it to perform any acts as well as issue general directions in the interests of the smooth operation of the payment system (Section 17 and 18 of the PSS Act, 2007).

Q21. Does the PSS Act 2007 deal with netting and settlement finality?

Ans. The PSS Act 2007 defines “netting” and legally recognizes settlement finality. It states that a settlement, whether gross or net, will be final and irrevocable as soon as the money, securities, foreign exchange or derivatives or other transactions payable as a result of such settlement is determined, whether or not such money, securities or foreign exchange or other transactions is actually paid. In case a system participant is declared insolvent, or is dissolved or is wound up, no other law can affect any settlement which has become final and irrevocable and the right of the system provider to appropriate the collaterals contributed by the system participants towards settlement or other obligations.

This Act also legally recognizes the loss allocation among system participants and payment system, where the rules provide for this mechanism.

Q22. What are the duties of a system provider under the PSS Act, 2007?

Ans. The PSS Act, 2007 lays down the duties of the system provider. The system provider is required to operate the payment system in accordance with the provisions of the Act and the Regulations, the terms and conditions of authorization and the directions given by the Reserve Bank from time to time. The system provider is also required to act in accordance with the contract governing the relationship among the system participants and the rules and regulations which deal with the operation of the payment system.  The Act requires the system provider to disclose the terms and conditions including the charges, limitations of liability etc., under the payment system to the system participants. The Act also requires the system provider to provide copies of all the rules and regulations governing the operation of the payment system and other relevant documents to the system participants. The system provider is required to keep the documents and its contents, provided to it by the system participants, as confidential and is prohibited from disclosing the same, except in accordance with the provisions of law.(Sections 20 to 22 of the Act)

Q23. What is the mechanism for settlement of disputes under the PSS Act, 2007?

Ans. The Act lays down an elaborate mechanism for settlement of disputes between system participants in a payment system, between system participant and system provider and between system providers. The Act requires the system provider to make provision in its rules or regulations for creation of a panel to decide disputes between system participants. Where any system participant is dissatisfied with the decision of the panel, or where disputes arises between system participant and system provider or between system providers, such disputes are required to be referred to the Reserve Bank for adjudication, whose decision shall be final and binding on the parties.  In cases where the Reserve Bank, in its capacity either as a system participant or system provider, is itself a party to the dispute, then there is a provision for referring such cases to the Central Government for adjudication. (Section 24 of Act).

Q24. What are the consequences of dishonor of electronic fund transfer under the PSS Act, 2007?

Ans. Under the PSS Act, 2007, dishonor of an electronic fund transfer instruction due to insufficiency of funds in the account etc., is an offence punishable with imprisonment or with fine or both, similar to the dishonor of a cheque under the Negotiable Instruments Act 1881. Subject to complying with the procedures laid down under the PSS Act, 2007, criminal prosecution of defaulter can be initiated in such cases. This provision was introduced to discourage dishonour of   electronic payment instructions. (Section 25 of the Act)

Q25. Are there any penalties or punitive action laid down under the PSS Act, 2007?

Ans. Under the PSS Act, 2007, operating a payment system without authorization, failure to comply with the terms of authorization, failure to produce statements, returns information or documents or providing false statement or information, disclosing prohibited information, non-compliance of directions of Reserve Bank violations of any of the provisions of the Act, Regulations, order, directions etc., are offences punishable for which Reserve Bank can initiate criminal prosecution. Reserve Bank is also empowered to impose fine for certain contraventions under the Act. (Sections 26 and 30 of the PSS Act, 2007).

Source: Reserve Bank of India- (FAQs) on PSS Act, 2007- updated on 31/01/2012.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on NEFT System

Q.1. What is NEFT?

Ans: National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) is a nation-wide payment system facilitating one-to-one funds transfer. Under this Scheme, individuals, firms and corporates can electronically transfer funds from any bank branch to any individual, firm or corporate having an account with any other bank branch in the country participating in the Scheme.

Q.2. Are all bank branches in the country part of the NEFT funds transfer network?

Ans: For being part of the NEFT funds transfer network, a bank branch has to be NEFT- enabled. The list of bank-wise branches which are participating in NEFT is provided in the website of Reserve Bank of India at

Q.3. Who can transfer funds using NEFT?

Ans: Individuals, firms or corporates maintaining accounts with a bank branch can transfer funds using NEFT. Even such individuals who do not have a bank account (walk-in customers) can also deposit cash at the NEFT-enabled branches with instructions to transfer funds using NEFT. However, such cash remittances will be restricted to a maximum of Rs.50,000/- per transaction. Such customers have to furnish full details including complete address, telephone number, etc. NEFT, thus, facilitates originators or remitters to initiate funds transfer transactions even without having a bank account.

Q.4. Who can receive funds through the NEFT system?

Ans: Individuals, firms or corporates maintaining accounts with a bank branch can receive funds through the NEFT system. It is, therefore, necessary for the beneficiary to have an account with the NEFT enabled destination bank branch in the country.
The NEFT system also facilitates one-way cross-border transfer of funds from India to Nepal. This is known as the Indo-Nepal Remittance Facility Scheme. A remitter can transfer funds from any of the NEFT-enabled branches in to Nepal, irrespective of whether the beneficiary in Nepal maintains an account with a bank branch in Nepal or not. The beneficiary would receive funds in Nepalese Rupees. Further details on the Indo-Nepal Remittance Facility Scheme are available on the website of Reserve Bank of India at

Q.5. Is there any limit on the amount that could be transferred using NEFT?

Ans: No. There is no limit – either minimum or maximum – on the amount of funds that could be transferred using NEFT. However, maximum amount per transaction is limited to Rs.50,000/- for cash-based remittances and remittances to Nepal.

Q.7. Whether the system is centre specific or has any geographical restriction?

Ans: No. There is no restriction of centres or of any geographical area within the country. The NEFT system takes advantage of the core banking system in banks. Accordingly, the settlement of funds between originating and receiving banks takes places centrally at Mumbai, whereas the branches participating in NEFT can be located anywhere across the length and breadth of the country.

Q.6. What are the operating hours of NEFT?

Ans: Presently, NEFT operates in hourly batches – there are eleven settlements from 9 am to 7 pm on week days (Monday through Friday) and five settlements from 9 am to 1 pm on Saturdays.

Q.7. How does the NEFT system operate?

Step-1 : An individual / firm / corporate intending to originate  transfer of funds through NEFT has to fill an application form providing details of the beneficiary (like name of the beneficiary, name of the bank branch where the beneficiary has an account, IFSC of the beneficiary bank branch, account type and account number) and the amount to be remitted. The application form will be available at the originating bank branch. The remitter authorizes his/her bank branch to debit his account and remit the specified amount to the beneficiary. Customers enjoying net banking facility offered by their bankers can also initiate the funds transfer request online. Some banks offer the NEFT facility even through the ATMs. Walk-in customers will, however, have to give their contact details (complete address and telephone number, etc.) to the branch. This will help the branch to refund the money to the customer in case credit could not be afforded to the beneficiary’s bank account or the transaction is rejected / returned for any reason.

Step-2: The originating bank branch prepares a message and sends the message to its pooling centre (also called the NEFT Service Centre).

Step-3 : The pooling centre forwards the message to the NEFT Clearing Centre (operated by National Clearing Cell, Reserve Bank of India, Mumbai) to be included for the next available batch.

Step-4: The Clearing Centre sorts the funds transfer transactions destination bank-wise and prepares accounting entries to receive funds from the originating banks (debit) and give the funds to the destination banks (credit). Thereafter, bank-wise remittance messages are forwarded to the destination banks through their pooling centre (NEFT Service Centre).

Step-5: The destination banks receive the inward remittance messages from the Clearing Centre and pass on the credit to the beneficiary customers’ accounts.

Q.8. What is IFSC?

Ans: IFSC or Indian Financial System Code is an alpha-numeric code that uniquely identifies a bank-branch participating in the NEFT system. This is an 11 digit code with the first 4 alpha characters representing the bank, and the last 6 characters representing the branch. The 5th character is 0 (zero). IFSC is used by the NEFT system to identify the originating / destination banks / branches and also to route the messages appropriately to the concerned banks / branches.

Q.9. How can the IFSC of a bank-branch be found?

Ans: Bank-wise list of IFSCs is available with all the bank-branches participating in NEFT. List of bank-wise branches participating in NEFT and their IFSCs is available on the website of Reserve Bank of India at .All the banks have also been advised to print the IFSC of the branch on cheques issued to their customers. For net banking customers many banks have enabled online search / pop-up of the IFSC of the destination bank branch.

Q.10. What are the processing or service charges for NEFT transactions?

Ans: The structure of charges that can be levied on the customer for NEFT is given below:

a) Inward transactions at destination bank branches (for credit to beneficiary accounts)

Free, no charges to be levied from beneficiaries

b) Outward transactions at originating bank branches (charges for the remitter)

–  For transactions up to Rs  1 lakh not exceeding Rs 5 (+ Service Tax)

–  For transactions above Rs 1 lakh and up to Rs 2 lakhs not exceeding Rs 15 (+ Service Tax)

 For transactions above Rs 2 lakhs not exceeding Rs 25 (+ Service Tax)

c) Charges applicable for transferring funds from India to Nepal using the NEFT system (under the Indo-Nepal Remittance Facility Scheme) is available on the website of RBI at

With effect from 1st July 2011, originating banks are required to pay a nominal charge of 25 paise each per transaction to the clearing house as well as destination bank as service charge. However, these charges cannot be passed on to the customers by the banks.

Q.11. When can the beneficiary expect to get the credit to his bank account?

Ans: The beneficiary can expect to get credit for the first nine batches on week days (i.e., transactions from 9 am to 5 pm) and the first four batches on Saturdays (i.e., transactions from 9 am to 12 noon) on the same day. For transactions settled in the last two batches on week days (i.e., transactions settled in the 6 and 7 pm batches) and the last batch on Saturdays (i.e., transactions handled in the 1 pm batch) beneficiaries can expect to get credit either on the same day or on the next working day morning (depending on the type of facility enjoyed by the beneficiary with his bank).

Q.12. Who should be contacted in case of non-credit or delay in credit to the beneficiary account?

Ans: In case of non-credit or delay in credit to the beneficiary account, the NEFT Customer Facilitation Centre (CFC) of the respective bank can be contacted (the remitter can contact his bank’s CFC; the beneficiary may contact the CFC of his bank). Details of NEFT Customer Facilitation Centres of banks are available on the websites of the respective banks. The details are also available on the website of Reserve Bank of India at .

If the issue is not resolved satisfactorily, the NEFT Help Desk (or Customer Facilitation Centre of Reserve Bank of India) at National Clearing Cell, Reserve Bank of India, Mumbai may be contacted through e-mail or by addressing correspondence to the General Manager, Reserve Bank of India, National Clearing Centre, First Floor, Free Press House, Nariman Point, Mumbai – 400 021.

Q.13. What will happen if credit is not afforded to the account of the beneficiary?

Ans: If it is not possible to afford credit to the account of the beneficiary for whatever reason, destination banks are required to return the transaction (to the originating branch) within two hours of completion of the batch in which the transaction was processed.

For example, if a customer submits a fund transfer request at 12.05 p.m. to a NEFT-enabled branch, the branch in turn forwards the message through its pooling centre to the NEFT Clearing Centre for processing in the immediately available batch which (say) is the 1.00 pm batch. If the destination bank, is unable to afford the credit to the beneficiary for any reason, it has to return the transaction to the originating bank, not later than in the 3.00 pm batch. On receiving such a returned transaction, the originating bank has to credit the amount back to account of the originating customer. To conclude, for all uncredited transactions, customers can reasonably expect the funds to be received back by them in around 3 to 4 hours time.

Q.14. Can NEFT be used to transfer funds from / to NRE and NRO accounts?

Ans: Yes. NEFT can be used to transfer funds from or to NRE and NRO accounts in the country. This, however, is subject to the adherence of the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 2000 (FEMA) and Wire Transfer Guidelines.

Q.15. Can remittances be sent abroad using NEFT?

Ans: No. However, a facility is available to send outward remittances to Nepal under the Indo-Nepal Remittance Facility Scheme.

Q.16. What are the other transactions that could be initiated using NEFT?

Ans: Besides personal funds transfer, the NEFT system can also be used for a variety of transaction including payment of credit card dues to the card issuing banks. It is necessary to quote the IFSC of the beneficiary card issuing bank to initiate the bill payment transactions using NEFT.

Q.17. Can a transaction be originated to draw (receive) funds from another account?

Ans : No. NEFT is a credit-push system i.e., transactions can be originated only to transfer / remit funds to a beneficiary.

Q.18. Would the remitter receive an acknowledgement once the funds are transferred to the account of the beneficiary?

Ans: Yes. In case of successful credit to the beneficiary’s account, the bank which had originated the transaction is expected to send a confirmation to the originating customer (through SMS or e-mail) advising of the credit as also mentioning the date and time of credit. For the purpose, remitters need to provide their mobile number / e-mail-id to the branch at the time of originating the transaction.

Q.19. Is there a way for the remitter to track a transaction in NEFT?

Ans: Yes, the remitter can track the NEFT transaction through the originating bank branch or its CFC using the unique transaction reference number provided at the time of initiating the funds transfer. It is possible for the originating bank branch to keep track and be aware of the status of the NEFT transaction at all times.

Q.20. What are the pre-requisites for originating a NEFT transaction?

Ans: Following are the pre-requisites for putting through a funds transfer transaction using NEFT –

  • Originating and destination bank branches should be part of the NEFT network
  • Beneficiary details such as beneficiary name, account number and account type, name and IFSC of the beneficiary bank branch should be available with the remitter
  • For net banking customers, some banks provide the facility to automatically pop-up the IFSC once name of the destination bank and branch is highlighted / chosen /   indicated / keyed in.

Q.21. What are the benefits of using NEFT?

Ans: NEFT offers many advantages over the other modes of funds transfer:

  • The remitter need not send the physical cheque or Demand Draft to the beneficiary.
  • The beneficiary need not visit his / her bank for depositing the paper instruments.
  • The beneficiary need not be apprehensive of loss / theft of physical instruments or the likelihood of fraudulent encashment thereof.
  • Cost effective.
  • Credit confirmation of the remittances sent by SMS or email.
  • Remitter can initiate the remittances from his home / place of work using the internet banking also.
  • Near real time transfer of the funds to the beneficiary account in a secure manner.

Source: Reserve Bank of India- (FAQs) on NEFT Systemupdated on 31/01/2012.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Collection of Instruments

1. What happens if there are delays in cheque clearing?

Local Cheques

Local cheques are payable within the jurisdiction of the clearing house and will be presented through the clearing system prevailing at the centre. Credit arising out of local cheques shall be given to the customer’s account at the next day to the date of presentation in the clearing. Ideally, banks shall permit usage of the shadow credit afforded to the customer accounts immediately after closure of the relative return clearing on the next working day or maximum within an hour of commencement of business on the third working day from the day of presentation in clearing, subject to usual safeguards…

Outstation Cheques

Maximum timeframe for collection of cheques drawn on state capitals/major cities/other locations are 7/10/14 days respectively. If there is any delay in collection beyond this period, you are entitled to interest at the rate specified in the Cheque Collection Policy of the bank. In case the rate is not specified in the Cheque Collection Policy, you are entitled to receive interest rate on Fixed Deposits for the corresponding maturity. Banks’ cheque collection policy also indicates the limit up to which outstation cheques are given immediate credit.

2. What happens if cheques / instruments are lost in transit / in clearing process?

If cheques are lost in transit or in the clearing process or at the paying bank’s branch, the bank should immediately bring the same to your notice so that you can inform the drawer to record stop payment and can also take care that other cheques issued by you are not dishonoured due to non-credit of the amount of the lost cheques / instruments.

The onus of such loss does not lie with you, but the collecting banker.

You are entitled to be reimbursed by the banks for related expenses for obtaining duplicate instruments and also interest for reasonable delays in obtaining the same.

3. My bank charges me a large sum of money for cheque collection. Is there any remedy?

Local Cheque collection charges are decided by the concerned bank from time to time and communicated to customer as part of the Code of Bank’s Commitment to Customers. Banks cannot charge you more than the following for outstation cheques:

Up to and including Rs.5000 – Rs.25 per instrument + service tax; Above Rs.5000 and Up to and including Rs. 10,000 – not exceeding Rs. 50 per instrument+ service tax; Above Rs. 10,000 and up to and including Rs. 1, 00,000 – not exceeding Rs. 100 per instrument + service tax; Rs.1, 00,001 and above – left to the banks to decide. No additional charges such as courier charges, out of pocket expenses, etc., should be levied.

4. My bank refuses to accept outstation cheques for collection. Is there any remedy?

No bank can refuse to accept outstation cheques deposited by you for collection or refuse to offer its products to you.

5. Can I know a bank’s Cheque Collection Policy?

Like in most countries, banks in India also are required to develop their own individual policy / procedures relating to collection of cheques. You are entitled to receive due disclosures from the bank on the bank’s obligations and the customers’ rights.

Broadly, the policies formulated by banks should cover the following areas:

Immediate credit for local/outstation cheques, Time frame for collection of local/ outstation instruments and Interest payment for delayed collection.

The cheque collection policies of various banks are made available on the website of Reserve Bank of India under the link

Banks are obliged to disclose their liability to you by way of interest payments due to delays for non-compliance with the standards set by the banks themselves. You are eligible to be compensated by way of interest payment even if no formal claim is lodged by you.

6. How are bank’s supposed to disclose their policies?

As a customer you have the right to know the Cheque Collection Policy of the bank before entering into any transaction.

The bank is obliged to disclose the amount up to which immediate credit of outstation cheque is offered in its Comprehensive Notice Board, which is to be displayed at each and every branch of the bank. The bank is also required to disclose its policy with regard to immediate credit for local / outstation cheques, time frame for collection of local/outstation instruments and policy for interest payment for delayed collection. The same will be available in the Information Booklets which should be available at all the bank branches. You are also entitled to ask the Branch Manager for a copy of the bank’s Cheque Collection Policy, if you so desire. Banks are also required to put up their Cheque Collection Policy on their websites. The cheque collection policies of various banks are made available on the website of RBI under the link mentioned in 5 above.

7.  What are the other means of transfer of funds?

They are RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement) & NEFT (National Electronic Fund Transfer). For more details visit the FAQs on RTGS under the link

and NEFT under the link

8. Am I entitled to receive an acknowledgement for cheque deposited in a bank for collection?

Banks are required to provide both the cheque drop box facility and the acknowledgement facility at their collection counters. No bank branch can refuse to give an acknowledgement to the customer if the latter asks for the same while tendering cheque for collection at the bank branch’s counter.

9. What do I do if I still have a grievance?

If you have a complaint against a bank on any of the above grounds or if you have a complaint due to non-payment or inordinate delay in the payment or collection of cheques, you can lodge a complaint with the bank concerned. If the bank fails to respond within 30 days, you can lodge a complaint with the Banking Ombudsman. (Please note that complaints pending in any other judicial forum will not be entertained by the Banking Ombudsman). No fee is levied by the office of the Banking Ombudsman for resolving the customer’s complaint. A unique complaint identification number will be given to you for tracking purpose. (A list of the Banking Ombudsmen along with their contact details is provided in the Annex).

Complaints are to be addressed to the Banking Ombudsman within whose jurisdiction the branch or office of the bank complained against is located. Complaints can be lodged simply by writing on a plain paper or online at or by sending an email to the Banking Ombudsman. Complaint forms are available at all bank branches also.

Complaint can also be lodged by your authorised representative (other than a lawyer) or by a consumer association/forum acting on your behalf. If you are not happy with the decision of the Banking Ombudsman, you can appeal to the appellate authority in the Reserve Bank of India (Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India).

In case you are not happy with the customer service at the Banking Ombudsman’s office, you can write to the Chief General Manager, Customer Service Department,  Amar Building, Ist Floor, Sir P M Road, Fort, Mumbai 400001 or send an email.

Source: Reserve Bank of India- (FAQs) on Collection of Instruments updated on 31/01/2012.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Cheque Truncation.

1. What is Cheque Truncation?

Truncation is the process of stopping the flow of the physical cheque issued by a drawer at some point with the presenting bank en-route to the drawee bank branch. In its place an electronic image of the cheque is transmitted to the drawee branch by the clearing house, along with relevant information like data on the MICR band, date of presentation, presenting bank, etc. Cheque truncation thus obviates the need to move the physical instruments across branches, other than in exceptional circumstances for clearing purposes. This effectively eliminates the associated cost of movement of the physical cheques, reduces the time required for their collection and brings elegance to the entire activity of cheque processing.

2.  Why Cheque Truncation in India?

As explained above, Cheque Truncation speeds up the process of collection of cheques resulting in better service to customers, reduces the scope for clearing-related frauds or loss of instruments in transit, lowers the cost of collection of cheques, and removes reconciliation-related and logistics-related problems, thus benefitting the system as a whole. With the other major products being offered in the form of RTGS and NEFT, the Reserve Bank has created the capability to enable inter-bank and customer payments online and in near-real time. However, as cheques are still the prominent mode of payments in the country and Reserve Bank of India has decided to focus on improving the efficiency of the cheque clearing cycle, offering Cheque Truncation System (CTS) as an alternative. As highlighted earlier, CTS is a more secure system vis-a-vis the exchange of physical documents.

In addition to operational efficiency, CTS offers several benefits to banks and customers, including human resource rationalisation, cost effectiveness, business process re-engineering, better service, adoption of latest technology, etc. CTS, thus, has emerged as an important efficiency enhancement initiative undertaken by Reserve Bank in the Payments Systems area.

3.   What is the status of CTS implementation in the country?

The Reserve Bank has implemented CTS as a pilot project in the National Capital Region (NCR), New Delhi with effect from February 1, 2008. After migration of the entire cheque volume from MICR system to CTS effective from July 1, 2009, the traditional MICR-based cheque processing has been discontinued in NCR. Based on the advantages realised by the stakeholders and the experienced gained from the pilot roll-out in NCR, it has been decided to operationalise CTS across the country. Accordingly, CTS has been rolled out in Chennai w.e.f September 22,2011 with few banks.

4. What is the new approach to CTS implementation in the country?

The new approach envisioned as part of the national roll-out is the grid-based approach.

Under this approach the entire cheque volume in the country cleared across numerous locations will be consolidated into a much fewer number of five or six grids. Each grid will provide processing and clearing services to all the centres under its jurisdiction, which could involve an entire state or a group of contiguous states as well. Banks, branches and customers based at small / remote locations falling under the geographical jurisdiction of a grid would be benefitted, irrespective of whether there exists at present a formal  arrangement for cheque clearing or otherwise.

The Chennai grid presently introduced  and once fully operational, will not be confined to the city of Chennai alone, but will cover as many as 17 MICR centres and ECCS centres managed / operated by other banks as also areas where clearing infrastructure is unavailable in the states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

5.  Is it possible to briefly explain the entire process flow in CTS?

Yes. In CTS, the presenting bank (or its branch) captures the data (on the MICR band) and the images of a cheque using their Capture System (comprising of a scanner, core banking or other application) which is internal to them, and have to meet the specifications and standards prescribed for data and images.

To ensure security, safety and non-repudiation of data / images, end-to-end Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) has been implemented in CTS. As part of the requirement, the collecting bank (presenting bank) sends the data and captured images duly signed and encrypted to the central processing location (Clearing House) for onward transmission to the paying bank (destination or drawee bank). For the purpose of participation the presenting and drawee banks are provided with an interface / gateway called the Clearing House Interface (CHI) that enables them to connect and transmit data and images in a secure and safe manner to the Clearing House (CH).

The Clearing House processes the data, arrives at the settlement figure and routes the images and requisite data to the drawee banks. This is called the presentation clearing. The drawee banks through their CHIs receive the images and data from the Clearing House for payment processing. The drawee CHIs also generate the return file for unpaid instruments, if any. The return file / data sent by the drawee banks are processed by the Clearing House in the return clearing session in the same way as presentation clearing and return data is provided to the presenting banks for processing. The clearing cycle is treated as complete once the presentation clearing and the associated return clearing sessions are successfully processed. The entire essence of CTS technology lies in the use of images of cheques (instead of the physical cheques) for payment processing.

6. What type of cheques can be presented for clearing through CTS?

All types of cheques can be presented for clearing through CTS. It is no different from the use of traditional clearing infrastructure for clearing paper cheques. Cheques presented as part of Speed Clearing are handled in CTS as well (for more details on Speed Clearing, the related FAQs may be referred to). Incidentally, given the fact that images of cheques (and not the physical cheques) alone need to move in CTS, it is possible for the removal of the restriction of geographical jurisdiction normally associated with the paper cheque clearing. For reaping this benefit , the concept of Grid-CTS clearing is being envisaged as part of roll-out of CTS at Chennai.  Under the grid clearing, cheques drawn on centres included in the grid will be cleared as part of local clearing.

7.   Will there be any change in the process for the customers?

No. There is no change in the clearing process for customers. Customers continue to use cheques as at present, except to ensure the use of image-friendly-coloured-inks while writing the cheques. Of course, such of those customers, who are used to receiving the paid instruments (like government departments) would also receive the cheque images. Cheques with alterations in material fields (explained in detail later) are not allowed to be processed under the CTS environment.

8.  What are the benefits of CTS to customers of banks?

The benefits are many. With the introduction of imaging and truncation, the physical movement of instruments is stopped. The electronic movement of images of cheques speeds up the process of settlement and can facilitate reduction in the clearing cycles as well. Moreover, there is no fear of loss of instruments in transit. Further, limitations of the existing clearing system in terms of geography or jurisdiction can be removed, thus enabling consolidation and integration of multiple clearing locations managed by different banks with varying service levels into a nation-wide standard clearing system with uniform processes and practices.

CTS also benefits issuers of cheques. Use of images obviates the need to handle and move physical cheques at different points. The scope for frauds inherent in paper instruments is, thus, greatly reduced. The Corporates if needed can be provided with images of cheques by their bankers for internal requirements, if any.  As only the images move, the time taken for receipt of paid cheques is reduced which also gives an early opportunity to the issuers of cheques to detect frauds or alterations, if any, in terms of what (and to whom it) was issued and what (by whom it) was realised.

CTS brings elegance to the entire activity of cheque processing and clearing. Cheque frauds can be greatly reduced with introduction of minimum security features prescribed under CTS Standards 2010, such as embedded verifiable features such as bar-codes, encrypted codes, logos, watermarks, holograms, etc., for early interception of altered / forged instruments. Obviating the need to move the physical cheques is extremely beneficial in terms of cost and time savings.

The benefits from CTS could be summarized as follows –

  • Shorter clearing cycle
  • Superior verification and reconciliation process
  • No geographical restrictions as to jurisdiction
  • Operational efficiency for banks and customers alike
  • Reduction in operational risk and risks associated with paper clearing

9.  If a customer desires to see the physical cheque issued by him for any reason, what are the options available?

Under CTS the physical cheques are retained at the presenting bank level and do not move to the paying banks. In case a customer desires, banks can provide images of cheques duly authenticated. In case, however, a customer desires to see / get the physical cheque, it would need to be sourced from the presenting bank, for which a request should be made to his bank. An element of cost / charge may also be involved for the purpose. To meet legal requirements, the presenting banks which truncate the cheques need to preserve the physical instruments for a period of 10 years.

10. How would be the uniqueness of a physical cheque be captured and imparted to the cheque image?

CTS in India mandates the use of prescribed image specifications only. Images that do not meet the specifications are rejected. As the payments are made on the basis of the images, it is essential to ensure the quality of the images. To ensure only images of requisite quality move in the CTS processing cycle, there is a rigorous quality check process at the level of the Capture Systems and the Clearing House Interface (of the presenting bank). The solution encompasses Image Quality Assessment (IQA) at different levels. The presenting bank is required to perform the IQA during the capture itself. Further IQA is done at the gateway before onward transmission to clearing house. The images are captured with digital signatures of the presenting bank and thereafter transmitted to the Clearing House and then to the paying banks. Further, the paying banks, if not satisfied with the image quality or for any other reason, can ask for the physical instrument to facilitate payment processing.

Further, the new cheque standard “CTS-2010” prescribes certain mandatory and optional security features to be available on cheques, which will also add to the uniqueness of the images.

11. What are the image specifications in CTS in the Indian context?

Imaging of cheques can be based on various technology options. The cheque images can be Black & White, Gray Scale or Coloured. These have their associated advantages and disadvantages. Black & White images are light in terms of image-size, but do not reveal all the subtle features that are there in the cheques. Coloured images are ideal but increase storage and network bandwidth requirements. Gray Scale images are mid-way. CTS in India uses a combination of Gray Scale and Black & White images. There are three images of each cheques that need to be taken – front Gray Scale, front Black & White and back Black & White.

12.  How are the images of cheques taken?

Images of cheques are taken using scanners. Scanners also function like photo-copiers by reflecting the light passed through a narrow passage on to the document. Tiny sensors measure the reflection from each point along the strip of light. Reflectance measurements of each dot is called a pixel. Images are classified as black and white, gray-scale or colour based on how the pixels are converted into digital values. For getting a gray scale image the pixels are mapped onto a range of gray shades between black and white. The entire image of the original document gets mapped as some shade of gray, lighter or darker, depending on the colour of the source. In the case of black and white images, such mapping is made only to two colours based on the range of values of contrasts. A black and white image is also called a binary image.

13.  How the image and data transmitted over the network is secured?

The security, integrity, non-repudiation and authenticity of the data and image transmitted from the paying bank to the payee bank are ensured using the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). CTS is compliant to the requirements of the IT Act, 2000. It has been made mandatory for the presenting bank to sign the images and data from the point of origin itself. PKI is used throughout the entire cycle covering capture system, the presenting bank, the clearing house and the drawee bank. The PKI standards used are in accordance with the appropriate Indian acts and notifications  of  Controller of Certifying Authority (CCA)

14. What is Cheque Standardisation and what does CTS 2010 Standard mean?

Standardisation of cheque forms (leaves) in terms of size, MICR band, quality of paper, etc., was one of the key factors that enabled mechanisation of cheque processing. Over a period of time, banks have added a variety of patterns and design of cheque forms to aid segmentation, branding, identification, etc., as also incorporated therein a number of security features to reduce the incidence of cheque misuse, tampering, alterations, etc. Growing use of multi-city and payable-at-par cheques for handling of cheques at any branches of a bank, introduction of Cheque Truncation System (CTS), increasing popularity of Speed Clearing, etc., were a few aspects that led to prescription of certain minimum security features in cheques printed, issued and handled by banks and customers uniformly across the banking industry. A Working Group was set-up by RBI for examining further standardisation of cheque forms and enhancement of security features therein.  Accordingly, certain benchmarks towards achieving standardisation of cheques issued by banks across the country have been prescribed like – quality  of  paper, watermark, bank’s logo in invisible ink, void pantograph, etc., and standardisation of field placements on cheques. In addition, certain desirable features have also been suggested to be implemented by banks based on their need and risk perception. The set of minimum security features would not only ensure uniformity across all cheque forms issued by banks in the country but also help presenting banks while scrutinising / recognising cheques of drawee banks in an image-based processing scenario. The homogeneity in security features is expected to act as a deterrent against cheque frauds, while the standardisation of field placements on cheque forms would enable straight-through-processing by use of optical / image character recognition technology. The benchmark prescriptions are collectively known as “CTS-2010 standard“. Indian Banks Association (IBA) and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) are co-ordinating with the banks on implementation of the new standard. Accordingly, the cheques issued are tested and certified by NPCI and only after such cerification the cheques would be issued to the customers.

15. What is the prescription relating to alterations / corrections on cheque forms?

The prescription on prohibiting alterations / corrections on cheques has been introduced to curtail cheque frauds on account of alterations in the various fields of cheques and to give protection to customers as well as banks. No changes / corrections can be carried out on the cheques (other than for date validation purposes, if required). For any change in the payee’s name, courtesy amount (amount in figures) or legal amount (amount in words), fresh cheque leaves should be used by customers. This would help banks in identifying and controlling fraudulent alterations. This prohibition is applicable to cheques cleared under the image based Cheque Truncation System (CTS) and is effective from December 1, 2010. It is not applicable to cheques cleared under other clearing arrangements for the present.

16. What are the precautions required to be taken by the banks / customers to avoid frauds?

Banks / Customers should use “CTS 2010” cheques which are not only image friendly but also have more security features. Customers may request their banks for cheque forms that are compliant with the “CTS 2010” standard. They should preferably use dark coloured ink while writing cheques and avoid any alterations / corrections thereon. A new cheque should be used in the event of any alterations / corrections. Banks should exercise care while stamping the cheque forms, so that it does not interfere with the material portions such as date, payee’s name, amount and signature. The use of rubber stamps, etc, should not overshadow the clear appearance of these basic features in image. It is necessary to ensure that all essential elements of a cheque are captured in an image during the scanning process and banks / customers have to exercise appropriate care in this regard.

17.  What are the modes in which banks can participate in CTS?

There are two modes in which banks may participate in CTS –

  1. Direct membership: Banks may participate as direct member provided they have a settlement account with the settlement bank and have put in place necessary infrastructure for participating in CTS.
  1. Indirect / Sub-membership: Banks may become sub-members / indirect members of the direct members by using the infrastructure and / or settlement services of the direct members. The settlement for such indirect / sub-member could be done either directly (if such banks have settlement accounts with the settlement bank) or through the direct member through whom they are participating.

18.  Is the infrastructure requirement for participating the CTS the same for all banks?

The infrastructure required at the banks’ end for participating in CTS are connectivity from the bank’s gateway to the Clearing House, prescribed hardware and software for the CTS application.

RBI provides member banks with the CHI (software). Banks need to procure hardware and other software such as operating system, database and a bouquet of third party software for the CHI. They also need to procure the application software for their capture systems.

The hardware requirement / sizing is based on the volume of cheques processed by banks. Based on the volume the CHI is categorised into four types and the hardware requirement is different for each category.

The bandwidth requirement for each bank is calculated based a number of factors like  the peak inward and outward volume of the bank, average size of an image, efficiency factor of the network, etc. In addition, future requirements have been taken into consideration while calculating the bandwidth requirement.

19. Whether the Cheque Truncation System has legal sanction?

With amendments in the Sections 6 and 1(4), coupled with the introduction of 81 A to the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, truncation of cheques is now legalized.

20.  In case of need for any further clarifications, who can be approached for guidance?

For any further clarifications the Contact Persons are –

The  General Manager, National Clearing Cell, Reserve Bank of India, 7th Floor, Tower 1, Jeevan Bharati Building, Connaught Place, New Delhi – 110 001.

The Chief Executive Officer, National Payment Corporation of India, C-9,8th Floor ,RBI Premises, Bandra-Kurla Complex, Bandra (East), Mumbai-400 051.

Source: Reserve Bank of India- FAQs on Cheque Truncation – (updated on 31/01/2012).