Your old cheques will continue to work, forever, but clearing the old checks will eventually take more time.
RBI Guidelines on CTS-2010
CTS is an abbreviation for Cheque* Truncation System. That means, the physical transportation of checks will stop somewhere and instead, it gets converted to digital form and the transmission continues in digital form. Once you present your check in a bank, it will be scanned for information, such as MICR etc, and the information is sent electronically to the other branch where you hold the account associated with the cheque. There will be a centralized repository, where all electronic cheques are archived for easy retrieval.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has prescribed new guidelines (revised guideline again on November 2013) on standardization of security features of cheques, aimed at enhancing customer safety and facilitating easier processing. This standard is known as CTS-2010.
As per the recent RBI guidelines, checks which are not as per the CTS-2010 standards will continue to be valid and accepted. However effective January 1, 2014, there would be likely delay in realisation of such non-CTS 2010 standard cheques, as these cheques will be cleared at less frequent intervals.
Separate clearing session will be introduced for clearing of non-CTS 2010 cheques from January 1, 2014. This separate clearing session will initially operate thrice a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) up to April 30, 2014. Thereafter, the frequency of such separate sessions will be reduced to twice a week up to October 31, 2014 (Monday and Friday) and further to weekly once (only Monday) from November 1, 2014 onwards.
The benefits of using CTS-2010 standard cheques:
• Reduction in risks associated with physical movement of cheques
• Enhanced security features that prevent tamper and misuse of cheques
We request you to go through the FAQs below to:
• Identify whether your existing Bank Accounts' cheque books are CTS-2010 compliant
• Request for a new cheque book, if required
Also, please note that RBI has advised all banks holding post-dated EMI cheques to arrange for replacement of non-CTS-2010 Standard cheques with CTS-2010 Standard cheques. If you have availed a loan and have given post dated cheques to your lending bank, do get in touch with them for advice on the next steps.
CTS-2010 is applicable to all the banks in India, including State Bank of India (SBI), Andhra Bank, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, Citibank N.A., HDFC Bank, Corporation Bank, HSBC Bank and so on.
In summary, your old checks will continue to work, but it will eventually take more and more time for the clearence of the checks. RBI is never going to stop payments to old checks as it might cause serious legal implications if the checks start bouncing. In the year 2015, the clearing of cheques might take 1 to 4 weeks time.
Importantly, all cheques, both new and old, are valid only for 3 months from the date of issue (date as mentioned in the check).
Get your non CTS-2010 checks replaced soon. Enjoy quicker and safer banking.
* We use British English in India, so in all banking and legal terminology, we spell it as c-h-e-q-u-e. Cheque is spelled as check in American English.