2006 2nd Quarter:

A 'Move' Toward Safer Checks

Harland Announces Security-Driven and Image Changes To Check Stock

Double check the date — on your check, not your calendar! Starting this month, things will look a little different when the dateline on checks moves to a new location. Harland will implement a global change to all personal checks, including standard and custom designs. The dateline will shift to a right justified position on the check face to prepare for a newly proposed fraud reduction standard and to accommodate Harland’s Validify™ security feature — a bar code positioned near the personalization area. Harland is working with several clients to alpha test Validify with plans to market and sell the solution later this year.

To help safeguard consumers from check fraud, the Financial Services Technology Consortium (FSTC) along with ASC/X9B has proposed an initiative to prepare check design to support image-survivable security features that validate original documents or images. According to Curt Siroky, Senior Manager of Printing Standards, Security and Fraud, “Check design must be displayed in a manner that is not only image friendly, but also well-suited for interoperable image-survivable security features.”

Harland is taking the industry lead in meeting such design criteria. “Because of my role as Vice Chairman of the X9B Standards Group, I want Harland’s products to be on the cutting edge of compatibility and compliance so we can lead by example,” says Siroky.

The early adoption of the dateline change helps Harland prepare its checks for potential use of image-survivable security features. “The initial ASC/X9B standard is expected to be a draft standard for trial use, giving the financial services industry the opportunity to test products and giving Harland the insight to help move the industry forward,” says Siroky.

Another change affects the endorsement side of checks, replacing the gray backer with a blue backer. Standards require a light background to enhance the endorsement text. The blue helps meet this need as well as improve the human visual display quality of necessary information (i.e., the security warning feature and endorsement area).

Existing checks will not be affected by the dateline and blue backer enhancements. Consumers can continue to use their current check supply. As new orders are placed, the changes will be applied.