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Cheques end a giant leap into SA digital payments future

Cheques end a giant leap into SA digital payments future

from TINTSWALO BALOYI in Johannesburg, South Africa
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News)
A BANKING executive has hailed the impending end of cheques is a historic moment for South Africa.

By January 1, 2021, individual consumers and businesses will no longer be able to cash cheques in Africa’s most advanced economy.

“Cheques have been one of the most treasured payment methods by some customers and symbolised a different era of innovation,” said FNB Chief Executive, Jacques Celliers.

“As a result, their necessary discontinuation is a nostalgic moment for us and our customers, however, we believe the future of payments is even more exciting for all of us.”

Celliers disclosed FNB issued its last cheque book in September this year but the journey to migrate its customers to safer and efficient digital payment methods had been running for years.

“As a platform bank, we’re availing a significant amount of resources and support to ensure that customers have a range of efficient payment alternatives,”

These include Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), mobile payments, online banking and card payments.

“These payment methods are far more advanced, safer and cost-effective for both businesses and individual customers,” Celliers added.

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB), Banking Association South Africa (BASA), Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) and Payments Association of South Africa (PASA) jointly announced that the issuing and acceptance or collection of cheques would cease from December 31, 2020.

The decision to discontinue cheques considered several factors including a lengthy processing period, fraud, restricted acceptance, limited education and protection for the consumer and ageing interbank cheque processing infrastructure.

The use of cheques has been declining 30 percent annually and during level 5 lockdown, volumes decreased by 80 percent as customers adapted to digital platforms.

Overall, cheques payments in South Africa contribute less than 0,1 percent of the total ecosystem in South Africa.

Celliers said it was important to acknowledge and appreciate the role of cheques in formalising the payments system.

The executive said FNB was honoured to have helped customers who chose this important instrument as their preferred payment method.

“We remain as committed to helping all customers acclimatise to modern payment methods,” he concluded.

– CAJ News

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