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The Star Saturday May 26, 2007

Half-day cheque: Banks to have new clearance system soon

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians will no longer have to wait several days for cheques to clear after a new electronic clearance system is introduced in August – every cheque, whether local or outstation, will clear in just about half a day. 

Bank Negara has directed all banks to comply with the paperless Cheque Truncation and Conversion System (CTCS), according to Rototype International group chief executive officer Harres Tan. Rototype makes the cheque-clearing kiosks and scanners that support the system. 

CTCS is expected to be in full operation by early next year.  

With it, the cheques are scanned and images are transmitted into a bank's system. Bank personnel will verify the cheques on computer terminals. 

The images of the verified cheques will then be transmitted to Bank Negara, and they will be cleared within 12 hours, said Tan, who spoke at the Bank Tech Asia 2007 conference here.  

“If the cheque is deposited after banking hours, it will be cleared by 2pm the next day.” 

Images of the cleared cheques will also be stored in a central image archive operated by Bank Negara. 

Tan said the system is already being used in the United States. 

CTCS transactions can be done in two ways – either at a bank counter or via Rototype’s self-service kiosks on the premises. 

“Either way, the process will be the same,” Tan said. 

At the counter, he said, the cheques will be put through a desktop scanner that will capture its image and time-stamp it before sending it to be verified. 

He said the kiosks work the same way, but are able to handle up to 35 cheques per transaction. 

Tan said most banks would also be looking to better secure their automated teller machines (ATMs) in the near future. 

He said they would likely be installing biometric security features in the machines to prevent unauthorised use.  

“Customers will need to place their thumb on a reader at the ATM before proceeding with a transaction,” he said. 

A foreign bank in the country has already adopted this feature, said Tan.

Read full article here.

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