All you need to know about CBN’s new cheque standard

CBN’s new cheque standard

All is set for the implementation of CBN’s new cheque standard expected to be fully operational by 1st of April, 2021.

The Central Bank of Nigeria had in a recent circular signed by its Director of Banking Services, Mr. Sam Okojere, postponed the full operationalization of the new cheque standard to 1st of April, 2021, thereby creating ample time for DMBs to sensitize its customers. The CBN hinged the delay to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this light, it is pertinent to note that the new cheque system is designed to improve the security and efficiency in cheque processing in Nigeria. It sets the template for developing the payment landscape in Nigeria, moving from the T+1 timeframe (24 hours) to T+0 in the nearest future.

Historical Background

The quest to implement the new cheque standard was first announced by the CBN in a circular dated 28th of February, 2019. The initial plan was to allow a 17 months concurrent pairing of both the old and the new cheques which will be phased out by August 1, 2020, implying that the new cheque will be effective by September 1, 2020.

READ: CBN Reopened COVID-19 Loan Application Portal on NIRSAL Microfinance Bank Platform

The features of the new cheque were explicitly referenced in In a CBN report titled: ‘’Monetary Credit, Foreign Trade and Exchange Guidelines for Fiscal Years 2020/2021’’.

However, due to some challenges, the timeframe for the implementation of the new cheque system was not met, leading to a further extension of the implementation to 1st of January, 2021.

Sequel to this, the CBN directed DMBs who might not be able to meet up with the new policy to take proactive steps by informing it (the apex body) of the challenges, and seek ways to rectify it in three months, on or before 31st of March, 2021, thereby confirming the new date for the implementation of the new cheque standard as 1st of April, 2021. If eventually implemented on the latter date, this implies that all the existing old cheques will be jettisoned in the banking system, creating room for only the new cheques to be used.

What you should know

  • Notable changes in the new cheque standards include; Introduction of Quick Response (QR) Code for faster verification of cheque details, expiry date of printed cheque booklet and clear zone at the back of the cheque.
  • In a recent mail to its customers, UBA stated that other features of the new cheque include;  a thinner and longer spacing for “Payee” and “Amount in words”, dateline is now labeled “Day, Month and Year” while location of “Amount in figures” has moved from directly under “Date” to directly under “Amount in words”. The signature line have also moved beneath the space for “Amount in words, while control number changed from eight digits to 10 and has moved to the top right corner of the cheque.

On the other hand, aspects that remain unchanged in the new cheque include; clearing cycle ( T+1) and maximum cap on cheques which remains at N10 million.