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Central Bank introduces new cheque processing system

Posted:Tuesday, July 4, 2017. 4:56 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: The Central Bank of Belize, at a press event on Tuesday morning, announced the launch of its new Automated Cheque Processing system which is one component of its larger Automated Payment and Security Service System (APS3), which the financial regulator says will significantly improve the ease of doing business in the country.

Starting 7 July 2017, all cheques deposited countrywide will be processed electronically, allowing for faster clearing time. According to Central Bank Governor Joy Grant, “This new service will further expedite the flow of money, contributing to faster receipt of funds by beneficiaries and increased business activity in Belize.”

Inaugurated in October 2016 by the Central Bank in collaboration with Central Government and domestic financial institutions, APS3  is an instrumental component of the National Payment System (NPS) reform project, which is a priority initiative of the Central Bank to enhance the safety, reliability, and efficiency of Belize’s financial infrastructure.

Via APS3 , financial institutions are connected in a local network, which enables banks to provide customers with services to make electronic payments quickly, safely, and securely anywhere in Belize. This transformational project provides a wider range of payment options such as Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) for low-value payments (which includes bulk payments, such as  payroll and accounts payable) within the same day; Instant Funds Transfer (IFT) (an electronic  payment that is available 24/7) within a few minutes; Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) for high value payments within an hour, and now automated clearing and processing of cheques by the end of the next day.

The automated cheque processing service will transform the entire procedure from deposit of cheques at participant banks to clearing and settlement via APS3 . Now, cheques presented to banks by customers countrywide before 2:00 p.m., will be scanned and sent to APS3 on the same day and credit will be applied at the end of the next day. Before automation, deposited cheques took several days to clear—3 days for local cheques and 7 days for out-district cheques.

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