Cheque Clearing (CITS)

The Image Clearing System (Cheque Imaging and Truncation System-CITS) was launched in May 2006, fundamentally transforming cheque processing by enabling digital images of cheques to be exchanged between banks strengthen the national retail payment infrastructure. This process eliminated the actual cheque movement in cheque clearing and reduced the delays associated with the movement of cheques. This in turn increases efficiency, reduces operational costs, and expedites the clearing process across the nation. CITS handles all the domestic interbank rupee cheque and draft clearings in the country.

CITS Operating under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement System Act No. 28 of 2005 that stipulates procedures for automated cheque clearance, the introduction of Cheque Imaging and Truncation System revolutionized the clearing process moving from physical cheque to an image-based clearing mode. This has brought down the clearing cycle to one working day from a previous three to five-day period due to elimination of physical movement the instrument. This has also enabled the banks to save time and processing costs and offer extended time for their customers to submit cheques, which has provided greater convenience to all banking customers. With the introduction of CITS in 2006, Sri Lanka became the 1st in South Asia and 2nd in the world to have rolled out such world-class payment and settlement infrastructure to enable nationwide cheque clearance.

Further, Sri Lanka is the 1st country in South Asia to launch the Online Transfer Mode of CITS, which replaced the inefficient practice of transferring the last mile of cheque images through compact discs (CDs)

Online data submission mode gives the banks the ability to submit cheque images and the MICR data of physical cheques to LankaPay via a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) with end-to-end encryption. During the implementation of CITS a standard cheques template have been introduced in Sri Lanka to standardize cheques issued by licensed commercial banks and reduce incidence of fraud.

Explore the advantages for financial institutions

  • Cost involved in paper movement eliminated
  • Faster clearing cycle
  • Faster cheque tracing and statement re-creation
  • MICR amount encoding eliminated
  • MICR and Image data travel together
  • Reduction in geographical dependence
  • A variety of ways to access electronic cheque images
  • Potential new products and services to combat fraud
  • Zero possibility of data and image manipulation during transmission
  • Efficient and streamlined workflow when using Image
  • Image retrieval
  • Eliminate courier costs
  • Eliminate encoding costs
  • Easy retrieval of information
  • Eliminate microfilming costs
  • Prevention of data and image manipulation during transit

Cheque return notification (CRN)

The Payment and Settlement Systems Act No. 28 of 2005 lays down the procedure in respect of the payment of cheques electronically presented. Section 34 (1) of the act states that the bank to whom the holder delivered a cheque for collection is permitted to issue to the holder Cheque Return Notification.

The Cheque Return Notification format has been designed to conform to all requirements set out by the CBSL. A collecting bank which has been authorized to issue CRNs shall do so in accordance with specifications given by LankaPay.

Financial institutions currently signed up with CITS


Quarterly statistics as of 31st Mrach 2024


Avg Volume of Cheques Cleared Per Day ('000)

48 Billion

Avg Value of Cheques Cleared Per Day (LKR)


Avg Volume of Cheques Returned Per Day ('000)

1056 Million

Avg Value of Cheques Returned Per Day (LKR)


Total Volume of Cheque Returned as a Percentage of Total Volume of Cheques Received for Clearing

Quarterly statistics

Year Quarter Avg Volume of Cheques Cleared Per Day ('000) Avg Value of Cheques Cleared Per Day (LKR) Avg Volume of Cheques Returned Per Day ('000) Avg Value of Cheques Returned Per Day (LKR) Total Volume of Cheque Returned as a Percentage of Total Volume of Cheques Received for Clearing
2021 Q1 160 37 Billion 4.0 660 Million 2.5
Q2 129 32 Billion 10.4 1333 Million 8.0
Q3 113 31 Billion 7.3 1010 Million 6.4
Q4 146 38 Billion 3.4 681 Million 2.4
2022 Q1 160 43 Billion 3.3 681 Million 2.1
Q2 137 43 Billion 4.3 1028 Million 3.2
Q3 117 37 Billion 3.0 862 Million 2.5
Q4 139 41 Billion 3.6 972 Million 2.6
2023 Q1 141 42 Billion 3.9 1068 Million 2.8
Q2 143 44 Billion 4.4 1130 Million 3.1
Q3 148 46 Billion 4.2 1049 Million 2.8
Q4 149 44 Billion 4.4 1092 Million 3.0

Clearing cut-off times

We will conduct CITS operations during the specified periods.

Clearing Session Clearing Leg Window Open Time Window Close Time Activity
Settlement Clearing Outward 10:00 a.m. 11:30 a.m. Submit outward return data
Inward 01:15 p.m. 09:30 a.m.(Next business day) Download inward return data
Main Clearing Outward 10:00 a.m. 07:30 p.m. Submit outward data
Inward 12:00 a.m. 09:30 a.m.(Next business day) Download inward data

Note : CD submission mode will only be activated in contingency situations. If such a situation arises, please notify LankaPay support beforehand to enable CD submission mode.


Cheques typically clear within one business day from the time they reach LankaPay, which performs functions of cheque clearing house.

Sri Lanka Rupee Cheques and Rupee Drafts

The length of a standard cheque is 7 inches and the width 3.5 inches.

On CITS, all cheques are transmitted as images. Therefore, the submission of cheques in different sizes is irrelevant to the check verification process.

No, only government departments can draw cheques over Rs.100Mn.

A new CRN will be issued for each return of the same check. Therefore, if a CRN is presented and subsequently returned, another CRN will be generated with a new return reason

Truncation is a process, which eliminates the movement of paper, which in turn eliminates the bottlenecks and delays associated with the movement of paper. This process results in the expeditious handling of returned items, exchange of data images with remote locations and also reduces the risks associated with the handling of the physical cheques.

LankaPay provides data submission application retrieves the latest bank branch details from the LankaPay servers. If you need a separate list, contact LankaPay Support.

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