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Banking Special Issue: Roll your own checks

Table of Contents


The Future of Bank Imaging

The green wall

Relationship Banking

Proof of Deposit

POD Case Study

Designing Forms for a Banking Environment

File Folders

Thrashing Folders

Staging Folders

Using COLD (a case study)

Check Processing: The need for Speed

Printing Your Own Checks

Check Processing 101

Images from the Fed

First National Bank & the Fed (case study)

Glossary of Bank Image Technology


by Joe Devlin

One way to simplify your clients' handling of checks is to make it possible for them to print their own. It's simple enough to do. If you are an imaging reseller whose business entails helping clients handle checks, bills or remittances, check printing is a technology you should add to your bag of tricks.

"One misunderstanding about the process of printing checks is that this entails buying check stock with company logo, address and bank info preprinted," Les Cseh, owner of Niagara, NY based Sensible Solutions, a MICR consulting firm. "Nothing could be further from the truth." Commonly available software and hardware allows checks to be printed entirely at the business site complete with logo, signatures, and the MICR encoding. "None of this technology is especially new, but it has only recently begun to attract the attention it deserves," adds Cseh.

With the proper software, and perhaps a custom-made printer ROM to make the check print ing system more secure, your clients can even let their laser printer sign the checks for them. If this concept makes them nervous, remind them that the software will allow them to specify that the auto matic signatures should only appear for checks less than an amount they determine.

The customized ROM used to add signatures can also serve double duty as a security cartridge if customers specify that all check printing must be done by a printer with the proper ROM installed. Those who are even more security-conscious can purchase specialized high-end printers that provide additional security via physical keys or plug in modules.

Cseh warns that quality assurance is not a step to be skipped in check printing. "Some MICR software vendors actually ignore bank standards and tell their users that they can use regular toner," he says. "Chances are that your clients can get away with this because standard toner often has just enough magnetic characteristics to be readable. But it has not been formulated to be accurately read on the wide variety of reader/sorters out there, nor to withstand up to 30 passes through reader/sorters."

To illustrate the need for strict quality-assurance, Cseh recalls a case when it was ignored. "My favorite story (again, this is rare) was told to me when I visited Philadelphia National Bank. A customer of the bank's had just had every single check in their pension check run rejected - all 140,000 of them - due to an error in how the MICR was set up. The bank charged the customer $1 per check ($140,000) because they had to read all 140,000 checks manually.

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