Back when I was in school there was a section of the accounting curriculum where we were shown how to fill out a cheque.

This wasn’t all that long ago come to think of it, but the need for cheques has diminished greatly in recent years and even more so since lockdown hit according to FNB.

“South Africa has seen an annual decrease of 30% in cheque usage, making cheques contributing less than 0.1% of the total payments ecosystem in South Africa. During level 5 lockdown, volumes decreased by 80% and we have seen businesses continue to adapt to more digital and secure options of transacting,” explains FNB Business product head, Kenneth Matlhole.

With that in mind FNB has announced that as of 31st December 2020, it will no longer issue cheques to FNB customers. The bank says that it will still honour cheque payments from other banks until further notice.

In order to prepare its customers for the discontinuation of cheques FNB has adopted a phased approach so as not to shock customers.

From 1st July FNB has stopped special clearance payments via cheque as well stopping mixed deposits which contain cash and cheques.

Next month, from 1st August, FNB will implement a mandatory 10-day cheque clearance period that cannot be shortened.

The bigger shift takes place on 1st September. From Spring Day onward, FNB will no longer return processed cheques to customers. Instead images of a customer’s cheques will be made available online.

More importantly however, from 1st September, FNB will no longer print cheque books.

That will eventually culminate with the end of cheque book issuing completely on 31st December. This also means that any cheques captured after this date won’t be valid.

“This means that any FNB cheques that are captured after the final date will not be deposited or encashed. All South African banks will be notified that FNB cheques presented after 31 December 2020 should not be accepted,” FNB explained.

The bank says that many countries and banks within South Africa have moved away from using cheques as they are inefficient, costly and susceptible to higher levels of risk.

“The decision to exit cheques has been done with great consideration to ensure that we offer payment alternatives for our customers who have been using cheques. We will continue to work with our customers to ensure a smooth transition to payment alternatives that are more secure, efficient and cost effective than cheques,” says Matlhole.

FNB says customers with additional questions should contact 087 736 2247.

[Image – CC BY ND 2.0 Andrew Gustar]
Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.