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Cheque Truncation System (CTS): Full Form, Working, Role and Advantages

Last Updated : 17 Jan, 2024
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What is Cheque Truncation System (CTS)?

The Cheque Truncation System (CTS) is a technologically driven technique for processing physical paper cheques quicker with greater effectiveness. It is a technology that seeks to eliminate the need for paper cheques to be physically transported from one bank to another during the clearing process. Many countries use CTS to streamline and improve the cheque-clearing process. It is commonly known as CTS. CTS stands for Cheque Truncation System (CTS).

Process of Cheque Truncation System (CTS)

How does Cheque Truncation System work?

The Cheque Truncation System (CTS) is similar to capturing a photograph of your deposited cheque. In lieu of physically transporting paper cheques, CTS converts them to digital images and data. These digital copies are sent to a central location for processing, where they verify the authenticity of the cheque and the account balance of the issuer of the cheque. If everything is in order, the funds are electronically transferred, and the sender and the receiver receive notifications. It is a quicker and more efficient method of handling cheques, and it also helps prevent fraud.

Here is a summary of the CTS procedure:

1. Depositing Cheque: The procedure starts when a consumer initiates a deposit of a cheque into their bank account. The deposit of the cheque can be facilitated by several channels, such as in-person at a physical bank branch, via automated teller machines (ATMs), or by utilizing mobile banking applications that offer remote cheque deposit functionality.

2. Capturing Image: Deposited cheques are scanned immediately after receipt. Here, advanced scanners are used to take a picture of the actual cheque at a very high quality. All of the information from both sides of the cheque is captured by the scanner.

3. Image Data Creation: Information such as the account number, cheque number, date, payee details, and picture of the cheque are extracted from the scanned photos and stored in electronic data files. This information is put to use in later processes.

4. Data Transmission: The depositing bank sends the electronic data files to the clearinghouse or central processing facility through electronic transmission. This is often done using encrypted communication channels.

5. Clearinghouse Processing: The clearinghouse processes the received information to distribute the drawn cheques to the appropriate drawee banks. The MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) code on the back of the cheque is read by the computer and used to locate the intended recipient’s bank.

6. Verification and Validation: The clearinghouse compares the information to a scanned copy of the cheque to guarantee credibility. In this phase, we look for issues including counterfeits, alteration, and other inconsistencies.

7. Settlement: The clearinghouse compares the information to a scanned copy of the cheque to guarantee credibility. In this phase, we look for issues including counterfeits, alteration, and other inconsistencies.

8. Return Process: The depositing bank may get an electronic notification that a cheque has been returned due to insufficient funds or other problems. The depositing bank is informed of the return’s reason.

9. Customer Account Update: The customer’s account is adjusted when the settlement and clearing procedure has been finalized. If the cheque is authentic and has been cleared, the recipient’s account will be credited with the amount. If it is returned, the appropriate charge is deducted.

10. Archiving: The data and digital pictures of all processed cheques are saved safely for future reference and auditing reasons.

When compared to the traditional paper-based clearing procedure, CTS drastically shortens the time it takes for a cheque to clear. It also improves safety and decreases the possibility of fraud or mistakes as compared to using real cheques.

Role of Cheque Truncation System (CTS)

The Cheque Truncation System (CTS) serves numerous significant purposes in the financial and banking sectors, all of which aim to boost the effectiveness, protection, and efficiency of the cheque-clearing process.

1. Efficient Clearing: CTS removes the need for the manual handling of paper cheques, speeding up and streamlining the clearing process. Clearing a cheque now takes at most a day, and sometimes only a few hours, as opposed to many days.

2. Facilitating Online and Mobile Banking: Customers may see photos of cleared cheques, monitor the status of their accounts, and look back on their financial records all thanks to CTS’s seamless integration with online and mobile banking services.

3. Real-time Data: Banks and financial institutions have the ability to access accurate data regarding the status of cheques, like whether or not they have cleared. This facilitates enhanced decision-making and consumer service.

4. Environmentally Friendly: CTS is good for the environment because it uses less paper and less transportation. This helps reduce the carbon footprint that comes with standard ways of clearing cheques.

5. Reduction in Human Errors: Errors are less likely to happen because CTS replaces the manual entry of information and physical handling of cheques with computer images and data. This makes the clearing process less likely to go wrong. This makes the process of handling cheques more accurate and reliable.

6. Increased Security: CTS makes deals with cheques safer. Cheques are sent between banks and the clearinghouse as safe electronic images. This makes it less likely that the actual cheques will be lost or stolen. Also, the system can automatically check for and verify fraud, which makes it less likely that fake cheques will be passed.

7. Cost-effectiveness: CTS helps banks and other financial institutions save money. It eliminates the need to move actual cheques, which cuts down on shipping costs and other costs that come with processing cheques by hand, like storage and labor.

8. Faster Access to Funds: With CTS, the person who gets a cheque can get the money faster. Since the clearing process is sped up, customers can usually use the money from a cleared cheque sooner. This helps businesses and people keep more cash in hand.

9. Electronic Record Maintenance: Since the images of cheques are stored electronically, it is easier to maintain a digital record that further facilitates efficient auditing.

History of Cheque Truncation System (CTS)

The implementation of India’s Cheque Truncation System (CTS) was an important moment in the country’s banking and payment systems. CTS was adopted to modernise and streamline the cheque-clearing and settlement process. Here’s a brief overview of CTS in India:

1. Inception: In the early 2000s, the notion of adopting a cheque Truncation System in India was born. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) began investigating the feasibility of using CTS in place of the existing paper-based clearing system.

2. 2008 – Pilot initiatives: In 2008, the RBI launched CTS pilot initiatives in many cities across India. These pilot projects were designed to evaluate the system’s reliability and functionality in real-world banking situations.

3. The RBI also released the CTS-2010 standard in 2008, based on the lessons learned from the pilot programs. This standard outlined the technical and operational criteria for implementing CTS throughout the country. It established the framework for image-based cheques and laid down the foundation for statewide implementation.

4. 2010 (Nationwide Implementation):  In 2010, CTS began its countrywide deployment, beginning with large cities. For cheque processing, this marked the formal shift from the traditional paper-based clearing system to the image-based CTS.

5. 2013 (Mandatory Implementation): In a phased approach, the RBI made CTS mandatory for all clearinghouses and banks in India. This approach attempted to improve the efficiency of the clearing process by ensuring standardisation in cheque processing standards.

6. Continuous Improvements: The CTS infrastructure in India has been continuously improved and upgraded throughout the years. New features and technologies have been added to improve the system’s security and efficiency.

Advantages of Cheque Truncation System (CTS)

Here are some advantages of CTS:

1. Faster Clearing and Settlement: One of the best things about CTS is that it shortens the time needed for clearing and settling cheques significantly. In traditional paper-based methods, cheques had to be sent to clearinghouses physically, which could take a few days. With CTS, this process is sped up, so it often clears the same day or the day after.

2. Reduction in Processing Costs: CTS eliminates all of the costs that come with having to physically move, store, and handle paper cheques. This helps banks and other banking institutions save money.

3. Enhanced Accuracy: CTS systems record and process cheque data using advanced imaging and recognition technologies. This makes it less likely that data entry and hand processing will make mistakes, which makes it easier to process cheques correctly.

4. Efficient Record Keeping: The images and information on electronic cheques are easy to store, maintain, and then retrieve back. This makes it easier for financial organisations to keep records and pass audits.

5. Reduced Float: Float refers to the period between the issuance of a cheque and the actual debiting of the funds from the payer’s account. CTS reduces float by speeding the clearance procedure, giving the payee faster access to funds.

6. Large-scale Clearing: CTS systems are scalable and can effectively process enormous numbers of cheques, making them ideal for large financial institutions and high-transaction scenarios.

Overall, CTS provides various benefits to the banking sector, such as increased efficiency, cost savings, higher security, and improved customer service. It modernises and integrates the cheque-clearing process with the demands of today’s digital banking environment.

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