Beginning from January 1, 2021, banks will introduce a new digit on the Magnetic Ink Character Recognition code line and expiry dates to new cheque books.

First Bank of Nigeria Limited disclosed this in a mail to its customers titled, ‘New features on cheque books’.

In the mail, First Bank said that the Central Bank of Nigeria had approved a new cheque standard to fully take effect from January 1, 2021.

Part of the report read, “All cheque books will now have expiry dates.

“A cheque digit has now been introduced on the MICR code line.”

The bank urged the customers to pick up their new cheque books at all open First Bank branches nationwide.

The CBN recently stated in its report entitled, “Monetary, credit, foreign trade and exchange policy guidelines for fiscal years 2020/2021,” that it was ensuring an enabling environment for efficient cheque processing and other paper-based payments instruments, through complete application of new and already adopted technologies.

It stated that it would continue to improve the clearing infrastructure to increase the efficiency of the system.

“The cheque truncation system shall continue to be used for the exchange of images of the instruments and Magnetic Ink Character Recognition,” it added.

The CBN stated, “The cheque clearing cycle remains T+1 and maximum cap on cheque at N10.0m.

“The bank will continue to take necessary steps to achieve a clearing cycle of T+0.”

It said it had approved the revised Nigeria Cheque Standards and Nigeria Cheque Printers Accreditation Scheme, to improve the safety and efficiency of the clearing system.

It stated, “Notable changes in the revised standards include introduction of Quick Response Code for faster verification of cheque details, expiry date of printed cheque booklet and clear zone at the back of the cheque.

It said that it would continue to conduct annual accreditation of the Nigeria cheque printers and cheque personalizers, in line with the provisions of the revised NICPAS.

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