EDITOR NOTE: We all know that senior citizen who holds up the line at the grocery store, taking out a checkbook, slowly filling it out as seconds seem to turn into minutes. It makes time crawl at a pace that screams inefficiency. Banks go through the same experience when having to process this “archaic” form of transaction. Money can’t be exchanged in an instant. And perhaps, as annoying as it often can be, that’s the point. South Africa has decided to permanently ban the use of checks starting December 31. It’s too slow. Electronic payments are preferred. With electronic efficiency also comes the risk of speed in human error or theft. Money can be “taken” much faster and more efficiently. The War on Cash heralds progress. But progress also moves along two opposite domains.
The South African Reserve Bank (SARB), Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), Payments Association of South Africa (PASA) and the Banking Association South Africa (BASA) have jointly agreed that that the issuing and the acceptance/collection of cheques will cease from 31 December 2020.
The Reserve Bank said this decision was taken due to the numerous challenges associated with the usage of cheques.
It said that these challenges include:
- A lengthy processing period;
- Fraud perpetrated through the issuing of cheques;
- Cheques as an expensive payment instrument;
- The restricted acceptance of cheques;
- Declining usage;
- Limited education and protection for the consumer;
- Ageing interbank cheque processing infrastructure;
- Impact of the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) outbreak.
“In this regard, South African banks will not accept any cheques for deposit or encashment after 31 December 2020,” the Reserve Bank said.
“Banks are expected to extensively communicate with their clients leading up to and beyond the discontinuation of cheques. Furthermore, to educate their clients on alternative electronic payment methods that may be used.”
The SARB said that affected stakeholders are requested not to write/draw or accept cheques after 31 December 2020.
“They are encouraged to approach their banks to be offered alternative electronic payment methods or to direct any queries they may have related to the process of termination of the usage of cheques,” it said.
You can read more about the phasing out of cheques from the national payment system in the SARB’s consultation paper here.
Originally posted on Business Tech