People at higher risk of COVID-19 infection will no longer have to leave their home to deposit cheques, the Central Bank announced on Wednesday.
A directive issued by the bank details how cheques marked as “only” for use by the beneficiary can “until further notice” be deposited by a trusted third party.
This, the bank said, will primarily enable vulnerable people avoid visiting bank branches and other financial service providers.
To have a trusted person deposit a cheque on their behalf, the beneficiary can either instruct them to make the deposit directly into the beneficiary’s account, or they can instruct them to make the deposit into the trusted person’s own bank account via an ATM.
Both the beneficiary and the trusted person will have to sign the back of the cheque before it can be deposted.
These measures, the bank said, should be particularly helpful for those beneficiaries who do not have a bank account.
“These measures are aimed to help those persons who either cannot leave their home, or who have been advised not to do so by the health authorities. Basically, it provides a remedy for a section of the population who will be receiving their social security benefits, including pensions, in the form of a cheque from the Government,” the bank said.
The decision was announced following the advice of national health authorities for persons to remain indoors as much as possible, the bank said.
The new directive also takes into account the concerns of commercial banks with regards to the wellbeing of their own staff, and encourages the use of ATMS.
To reduce the number of customers inside branches, all banks are now authorised to restrict over-the-counter cash withdrawals from a deposit account associated with a payment card unless the amount exceeds €500.
Bank of Valletta had first announced the €500 minimum withdrawal from within its branches last week.
In the meantime, banks and financial institutions must provide over-the-counter cash deposit services for all those customers who do not have any other access to alternatives such as ATMs.
These customers are encouraged to obtain access to such alternatives offered by the financial services community.
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