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Bangladesh Bank will impose a service charge on automated cheque clearance and electronic fund transfer from the beginning of next year, said a circular yesterday.

A bank can charge its customers a maximum of Tk 50 plus value-added tax for high-value cheques (Tk 5 lakh and above) and Tk 7 plus VAT for regular-value cheques (under Tk 5 lakh).

And for electronic fund transfer, a bank will be allowed to charge a maximum of Tk 7 plus VAT.

BB, on the other hand, will take Tk 25, Tk 5 and Tk 5 from the charges for high-value cheque, regular cheque and electronic fund transfer respectively.

In the circular, the central bank said it has been allowing the banks to use its infrastructure free of charge to provide the services to their customers for around two years now.

“Though the systems were installed with the assistance of the British government, the BB has been bearing the operating costs,” said the circular.

“It [BB] has decided to impose the charges for maintenance and covering the operating costs,” it said.

A BB official said the central bank requires nearly Tk 25 crore per year to run the system smoothly.

Of the cost, Tk 11 crore is spent for maintenance and the rest as depreciation for machines.

Bangladesh Automated Cheque Clearing House consists of two components -- Bangladesh Automated Cheque Processing System (BACPS) that replaced the earlier paper-based manual cheque clearing system and Bangladesh Electronic Funds Transfer Network (BEFTN), an inter-bank electronic funds transfer system -- to help the banking sector transact smoothly.

With the initiative, duration of cheque clearance reduced and its volume increased significantly, said BB officials.

Under the automated system, Tk 5,000 crore on average is cleared and transferred through the BACPS and BEFTN per day.

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