Transmission of payment order through funds-transfer or other communication system.
(a) If a payment order addressed to a receiving bank is transmitted to a funds-transfer system or other third-party communication system for transmittal to the bank, the system is deemed to be an agent of the sender for the purpose of transmitting the payment order to the bank. If there is a discrepancy between the terms of the payment order transmitted to the system and the terms of the payment order transmitted by the system to the bank, the terms of the payment order of the sender are those transmitted by the system. This section does not apply to a funds-transfer system of the federal reserve banks.
(b) This section applies to cancellations and amendments of payment orders to the same extent it applies to payment orders.
Source:Laws 1991, LB 160, § 15.
1. A payment order may be issued to a receiving bank directly by delivery of a writing or electronic device or by an oral or electronic communication. If an agent of the sender is employed to transmit orders on behalf of the sender, the sender is bound by the order transmitted by the agent on the basis of agency law. Section 4A-206 is an application of that principle to cases in which a funds-transfer or communication system acts as an intermediary in transmitting the sender's order to the receiving bank. The intermediary is deemed to be an agent of the sender for the purpose of transmitting payment orders and related messages for the sender. Section 4A-206 deals with error by the intermediary.
2. Transmission by an automated clearinghouse of an association of banks other than the Federal Reserve banks is an example of a transaction covered by section 4A-206. Suppose Originator orders Originator's bank to cause a large number of payments to be made to many accounts in banks in various parts of the country. These payment orders are electronically transmitted to Originator's bank and stored in an electronic device that is held by Originator's bank. Or, transmission of the various payment orders is made by delivery to Originator's bank of an electronic device containing the instruction to the bank. In either case the terms of the various payment orders by Originator are determined by the information contained in the electronic device. In order to execute the various orders, the information in the electronic device must be processed. For example, if some of the orders are for payments to accounts in Bank X and some to accounts in Bank Y, Originator's bank will execute these orders of Originator by issuing a series of payment orders to Bank X covering all payments to accounts in that bank, and by issuing a series of payment orders to Bank Y covering all payments to accounts in that bank. The orders to Bank X may be transmitted together by means of an electronic device, and those to Bank Y may be included in another electronic device. Typically, this processing is done by an automated clearinghouse acting for a group of banks including Originator's bank. The automated clearinghouse is a funds-transfer system. Section 4A-105(a)(5). Originator's bank delivers Originator's electronic device or transmits the information contained in the device to the funds-transfer system for processing into payment orders of Originator's bank to the appropriate beneficiary's banks. The processing may result in an erroneous payment order. Originator's bank, by use of Originator's electronic device, may have given information to the funds-transfer system instructing payment of $100,000 to an account in Bank X, but because of human error or an equipment malfunction the processing may have converted that instruction into an instruction to Bank X to make a payment of $1,000,000. Under section 4A-206, Originator's bank issued a payment order for $1,000,000 to Bank X when the erroneous information was sent to Bank X. Originator's bank is responsible for the error of the automated clearinghouse. The liability of the funds-transfer system that made the error is not governed by article 4A. It is left to the law of contract, a funds-transfer system rule, or other applicable law.
In the hypothetical case just discussed, if the automated clearinghouse is operated by a Federal Reserve bank, the analysis is different. Section 4A-206 does not apply. Originator's bank will execute Originator's payment orders by delivery or transmission of the electronic information to the Federal Reserve bank for processing. The result is that Originator's bank has issued payment orders to the Federal Reserve bank which, in this case, is acting as an intermediary bank. When the Federal Reserve bank has processed the information given to it by Originator's bank it will issue payment orders to the various beneficiary's banks. If the processing results in an erroneous payment order, the Federal Reserve bank has erroneously executed the payment order of Originator's bank and the case is governed by section 4A-303.