Cheque handling at banks takes too long

PORTUGAL’S CONSUMER rights association, Deco, is calling for banks to clear cheques in less time.

In a letter sent to the Bank of Portugal, the association requests a revision to the time delay between the paying in date and the day on which the money is made available – the date the cheque is cleared.

According to a study carried out by consumer finance magazine, Dinheiro & Direitos, published in September, the majority of Portuguese banks are taking too long to process cheques drawn on accounts held at other banks.

Caixa Geral de Depósitos and Millennium bcp are the banks that retain money for the longest period – a total of four days. At Banco Espírito Santo, the average time delay is three working days, while customers of BPI bank only wait one working day for funds to be cleared. According to Deco, one working day is sufficient to carry out the operation, due to the new developments in technology, which have been applied to banking processes.

The Bank of Portugal recommends that banking institutions make funds available by the third working day following the deposit of a cheque, but, according to Deco, the guidelines are not always followed.