JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011 eNEWSLETTER

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011

How Do You Know If Your Checks Are Secure?

Check security is a critical element of check printing but it is also confusing because there are many levels of security that you should consider. Here is a list of some basic security levels:

  1. Ability to access the accounting software to create a check. – Usually security is a password
  2. Ability to actually print checks – Second level password
  3. Check stock security – Security features embedded in the check stock.
  4. Check security partnership with your bank – This is a service offered by most banks where the bank does not clear any check unless you have approved the payment.

Level 1: You have to make sure that you are aware of all of the people who have access to your accounting software. The information in the accounting software may be confidential and often, if they have access to your accounting software they have access to printing checks. It is important to make sure that you trust each person with access to your accounting software and that you keep your check stock locked up or you have software that will print onto blank check stock.

Level 2: If you can password protect the actual check printing process it gives you the additional security of restricting the people who can actually print checks.

Level 3: Check stock is an important tool in check security. There are many features that you can have on your check stock but some are more effective than others in avoiding check fraud. The VOID pantograph has been a mainstay for check security but the new check clearing regulations have actually almost obviated the VOID pantograph. A critical security feature for check stock is chemical additives to the paper which prevent removal or alteration of the ink used to print the check. There are a few chemicals that are often used to lift ink off the page and you should make sure that your check stock has chemicals in the paper that will create a brown or black stain when they come in contact with the ink removal chemicals.

Level 4: The most effective security feature that you can implement to prevent check fraud is a system usually called Positive Pay. This is an agreement between you and your bank that the bank will only clear checks that you have approved. The way that you approve the checks is that each time you print checks you create a file that includes 4 key fields: Check amount; Payee; Check Number; Check Date. If ALL FOUR of these fields don't match, the check is rejected. There are some check printing software systems that will create the Positive Pay File for you when you print checks and all you have to do is send it to the bank. Positive Pay is the only way to definitively stop check fraud.

Check security is an issue that is often overlooked but it is well worth the time to review these four security levels to decide what level of security makes you comfortable.

Article written by Wellspring Software, an Endorsed Solution for Sage ERP Accpac. For more information on Wellsprings visit the Sage Partner Solutions Source site.

 

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