Paying through cheques will be costlier

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New Delhi, Apr 1: Paying through cheques will now be a costlier affair. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has now allowed banks to decide on the service charges for their clearing of cheques valuing more than Rs 1 lakh and also of outstation cheques.

Till yesterday the RBI did not allow banks to charge above Rs 150 per cheque worth over Rs 1 lakh, the speed clearing of cheques. Cheques with value of less than Rs 1 lakh, were not charged and this has been continued.

Speed clearing is the process where by outstation cheques are electronically presentated to the drawee centre, the place where the cheque is payable, by the centre, city where the cheque is presented.

For normal local clearing also, drawee bank are allowed to charge till Rs 1.50 per cheque, against Re 1. For local clearing via cheque truncation system i.e. electronically processing the scanned image of the cheque, the drawee bank can levy a service charge of Re 1, up from 50 paise at present.

RBI has decided to lower the service charge for outstation cheques up to Rs 5,000, by allowing a levy of Rs 25, as against Rs 50 currently.

The outstation cheques between Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 would continue to attract a fee of Rs 50, while those between Rs 10,000 and Rs 1 lakh would also continue to be levied a charge of Rs 100.

Though fixing service charges not mandated herein, banks are to get approval from their boards on the service charge structure.

RBI told the banks, "Charges fixed should be reasonable and computed on a cost-plus-basis and not as an arbitrary percentage of the value of the instrument. The service charges-structure should not be open ended and should clearly specify the maximum charges that would be levied on customers including charges if any, payable to other banks."

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