Cheques for less than HK$20,000 could be cleared electronically under a plan to save costs and enhance settlement efficiency. The government and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) want to change the law to dispense with the need for banks to present low-value cheques physically and presented a bill to the Legislative Council's Panel on Financial Affairs yesterday. Under the proposed change, banks would be allowed to send an electronic image of a cheque and its data to the clearing house, Hong Kong Interbank Clearing. HKMA executive director of monetary policy and markets James Lau told legislators that about 500,000 cheques were processed a day. 'The data and images taken from the cheque are much less expensive to handle and store than physical cheques,' Mr Lau said. Data could be transferred almost instantaneously, making cheques clearing much faster. However, the change would require an amendment to the Bills of Exchange Ordinance, which required cheques to be physically presented, he said.