The Nigeria Automated Clearing System known [NACS] has achieved same day and express clearing readiness with the recent cut-over from the NCR’s Electronic Cheque Presentment with Image Exchange (ECPIX) to the i-TellerCH application.
Executive Director, Technology and Operations, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) Plc, Mrs. Christabel Onyejekwe said the decision to change the central clearing application was borne out of the dire need to enhance the capabilities of the system in line with technology advancements, regulatory requirements and industry expectations.
The i-TellerCH application enables NIBSS to achieve real-time processing and instant delivery of truncated cheques, prompt reports generation, easy access to archive images and general increase in cheque processing time amongst other benefits.
i-TellerCH is powered by Precise Financial Systems (PFS), an indigenous fintech software company.
NACS is the system used for clearing/processing of paper based and Automated Clearing House (ACH) instruments in Nigeria. Paper based instruments are draft, warrants and cheques (individual and corporate) while ACH instrument are batched/bulk EFT (credit and debit).
The NACS initially used to be run on the Electronic Cheque Presentment system (ECP) designed and supported by NCR Nigeria Plc. The ECP system only involved the exchange of payment instructions/data without cheque images. Banks meet in a clearing house for the exchange of physical cheques.
Over time, the ECP system was enhanced to ECPIX to enable banks truncate cheques from their offices and avoid the stress of travelling to a central location for physical cheque exchange.
The National Clearing System has helped to reduce the clearing process timing from the 14 to 21 working days to 1 day. This has enabled high liquidity rate in the economy.
“The quest towards enhanced operational efficiency and improved service delivery through continuous automation of most of our platforms at a reduced cost to the Nigeria financial industry and the drive to promote local products and enhance the country export commodities in the area of off-the shelf software solution sales were major factors responsible for the change from ECPIX system to i-TellerCH application,” she explained in an exclusive interview.
PFS and some other local software companies have been in the clearing system business since the commencement of electronic cheque clearing process. More so, PFS is one of the companies that provide this service to majority of the banks, CBN inclusive. The business opportunity was thrown opened through a competitive process and PFS met the criteria.
She informed that the new system has capacity to process 1 million cheques in 30 minutes and 4 million electronic fund transfer [EFT] in 3o minutes. A number of stress tests were erformed on the system during the implementation phase of the project.