Eastern Caribbean Automated Clearing House (ECACH) makes cheque depositing easier, giving faster access to cash.

The Eastern Caribbean Automated Clearing House (ECACH) has advised that effective immediately, commercial banks operating within its system have agreed to the following maximum “Hold Funds” period for cheques deposited to client accounts.

Access to these funds will occur as outlined below:

  1. Cheques for amounts XCD 150,000 and over – funds available same day of deposit for all items processed and settled before the clearing cut-off time for the day. The cut- off time may vary at individual banks and you should check with your bankers for the time to deposit items to facilitate receipt of same day credit. For items deposited after the agreed time, funds will be available the next business day after deposit date.
  2. Low value cheques (less than XCD150,000) deposited within the same territory. All low value cheques cleared within the same territory will have funds available two (2) business days after the deposit date.
  3. Low value cheques deposited across territories- All low value cheques cleared across territories will have funds available three (3) business days after the deposit date.
  4. The commercial banks and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) will review current processes with a view to implementing additional operating efficiencies to allow further reductions in the “Hold Funds” period. A further review is scheduled for July 2016.

Individual commercial banks may offer their customers earlier access to funds dependent on their customer relationship agreements and risk tolerance.

The above is in keeping with the promise of the ECACH to provide benefits to customers with the implementation of the ECACH.

The ECACH reminds customers that its introduction has brought about changes in how they must also operate. In particular they should pay close attention to the following:

  1. Customers are urged to ensure that sufficient funds are available on accounts to cover all cheques issued at the same time
  2. Cheques of $150,000 and over must be deposited at their bank by the agreed time in order to ensure clearing, settlement and same day funds availability.
  3. Only properly printed/encoded cheques will be accepted from customers. Customers are asked to check with their banks to ensure they have a supply of compliant cheques to be used going forward. Cheques which do not meet the standard requirements for the ECACH cannot be processed will not be accepted for deposit.
  4. Customers are reminded that they will no longer receive the physical cheques returned with their statements. Instead, copies of cheque images may be provided upon request..

Individuals and businesses should contact their local banks for more details on how the new system may impact them.

ECACH is the result of collaboration between the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the commercial banks within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. ECACH is managed by Eastern Caribbean Automated Clearing House Services Incorporated (ECACHSI) which has been established to oversee the operation of a secure automated clearing system. This system facilitates electronic cheque image clearing and will eventually allow for electronic funds transfer among all commercial banks in the participating territories.

For more information please visit the website of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank at www.eccb.org or your bank’s website.

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