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Rwandan Banks Introduce New Restrictions on Cheque Payments

by Daniel Sabiiti
7:28 pm

In a bid to control spread of Coronavirus, Rwanda Bankers Association (RBA) has instructed that all banks to no longer allow third party cheque payments for the next three months.

The decision of the association comes at a time when banks have taken individual measures to avoid more Coronavirus infections by asking clients to keep a one meter distance between each other but continued receiving cheque payments including third party payment orders.

“Third party cheques encashment will not be allowed, all banks will allow cheques to be deposited in the payees account,” said Robin Bairstow, the banker’s chairman.

The new instructions, mean that if someone wrote a payment order to another person, they will not withdraw directly but instead deposit the cheque on their bank accounts- which can be done without going to the bank.

The RBA also reminded the banks to scrap all charges between bank accounts, mobile wallets and Points of Sale (PoS) transactions, as instructed and agreed upon by the Central Bank of Rwanda and all financial institutions this week.

The association also asked banks to restructure outstanding loans for customers especially those with cash flow challenges as a result of Coronavirus.

RBA measures come shortly after the Central Bank of Rwanda floated Rwf50billion to allow banks to have access to liquid cash in the wake of the effects of the Coronavirus on the economic performance of the banking sector.

All these changes will be effective Monday March 23rd, but the association said it will keep a close eye on Coronavirus developments in the country and possibly adjust some of the measures which are for now supposed to be effected in the next three months.

Apparently banks now have a task to improve the cheques processing timeline to reduce unwanted delays in flow of cash from one hand to another.

Central Bank requires that banks process cheques within two hours after deposit, but this has been taking two to three days for some cases raising concerns among bank clients despite the existence of the integrated payment processing system, which is supposed to enable timely transactions.

During the release of the Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Statement (MPFSS) in February, the Central Bank of Rwanda had warned that banks would start getting penalized for the delays.

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