Security Printing – Printing your own Cheques

by Rich B

There can be plenty of reasons why you might want to create your own branded cheques for your business. Especially on a day like today when lots of people are supporting red nose day and you see so many customised giant cheques floating about!

But whatever your reason or occasion, it needs doing carefully and following the correct procedures: it needs to comply with payment services security measures in your country and needs executing with the full cooperation of your bank to ensure it’s compliant with their own security measures.

So here’s an overview of what you need to look out for to make sure your job goes according to plan.

 

cheque printing

You can personalise however you like - within reason!

First off, check with your bank to make sure they’re happy for you to produce your own cheques. They’ll probably be able to provide you with their own guidelines to make sure the end result complies with their own security requirements although your printer can handle all this detail on your behalf too.

APACS Accredited Cheque Printer
Next, you need to find a supplier. When looking for a supplier, you’re looking for a specialist security printing services company or cheque printer. They will need to be members of their relevant certification authority which in the UK means a member of the Cheque Printer Accreditation Scheme (CPAS) which ensures the printer complies with the relevant British Standards Institute standards. The scheme is run by APACS, the UK trade association for institutions which deliver payment services to customers and who ensure their accredited printers take all the necessary precautions to minimise fraud and forgeries.

Of course, not all suppliers are created equal so make sure you either contact a number of printers and ask for quotations and references – or use the services of a 3rd party organisation with experience of using security printers.

Security Printing
OK, that done, your printer should apply a range of high-security printing techniques to your cheque. Here are a few:

  • Watermarked Security Paper – only available to APACS accredited printers
  • Solvent ink – degrades with attack from solvents
  • Hologram – deters attack from forgery
  • Security numbering – for traceability
  • Micro text – difficult to scan or copy
  • Thermochromic inks – react to heat for cheque-validation
  • Numismatic patterns – reduce forging.

Often you’ll not be aware of the subtleties of the security marking that goes on with the cheque to ensure it complies with the APACS specifications as there are lots of cunning and subtle techniques employed by security printers to make sure your cheque complies fully.

However, much of that goes on in the background and providing you’re getting the right advice, should be pretty painless to you as the customer. You should be equipped by the guidelines from your bank and your print consultant will give you APACS-compliant cheque templates to work from to which you can make your modifications – adding names and logos etc.

Once all the design changes are made to the templates, you or your printing company need to send a copy over to your bank for their approval and then it’s all systems ‘Go!’

Depending on the number of cheques required, turnaround time should be within the week from giving your security printer the green light.

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