The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has invited service providers to submit Expression of Interest to be accredited to personalised cheque-based stock, under the Nigeria Cheque Standard (NCS) and Nigeria Cheque Printers Accreditation Scheme (NICPAS).
Requirements for accreditation: The apex bank, in a circular released on its website, said interested entities must provide detailed information about their activities, indicating among other things:
- their qualifications to render such services as the printing of specific bank and customer information; and
- other variable data elements in the MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) code line and Quick Response (QR) code fields on newly produced cheque leaflets.
Process of accreditation: According to the circular, interested applicants, at the submission of the Expression of Interest form, will pay an application fee of One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (N150,000), after which:
- a mandatory pre-assessment will be carried out based on the response from the Expression of Interest and the criteria as specified in the NCS/NICPAS guideline 2.0, and on the CBN website;
- successful applications will qualify for an accreditation visit by the bank, which is subject to the payment of the mandatory non-refundable accreditation fee of Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N500,000); and
applicants who successfully complete the accreditation process and receive a CBN’s personalisation number and certificate can personalise cheques that would be used in the financial ecosystem in Nigeria.
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Meanwhile, as Nairametrics earlier reported, personalisers who wish to personalise cheques in line with the new standards must now be accredited by the Central Bank. This is what the circular revealed as the new system and is slated to commence on August 1, 2020.
About the NCS/NICPAS: The scheme was introduced by the Central Bank in 2006 with the aim of increasing efficiency and safety in the Nigerian cheque clearing system, and the implementation date is set at February 1, 2019. This, the bank noted shall run concurrently with the old standard for one and half years before the old standard is finally phased out.
A personalised cheque refers to the cheque produced precisely by a business for its own use with special features such as bank name, bank details, sort code and account details overprinted on the security background of the stock paper, which must be supplied by an accredited cheque printer.