Chequing Out

Moving in with the paperless world, Sri Lanka will introduce a computer images based cheque clearances system to speed up transactions, by August 2005. “We are hoping to get the image based clearance system fully operational by August 2005,” said Justin Wickramasinghe, CEO of Sri Lanka’s cheque clearing house LankaClear (Pvt) Ltd, on Tuesday.

The plan is to cut down cheque realization time from the present one to ten days, to one working day by electronically exchanging pictures of cheques instead of physically moving them around.

At the moment the physical movement of cheques contribute to increasing transaction costs across the board as nearly 63 percent of retail dealings, on value, are by cheque.

A majority of the cheques that come to the clearinghouse every day – about 62 percent – are from the Greater Colombo.

Most remote rural banks give between three to 40 cheques per branch per day.

However, the image-based system is expected to cut down transaction costs across the board because of reduced time.

The system works by getting pictures of both sides of a cheque from a camera attached to the reader equipment – this is