About the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act and Image Replacement Documents

When banks create electronic check images, they scan the checks to create electronic files and then destroy the original paper check. The electronic image may be reprinted onto a new type of document called an Image Replacement Document (IRD).

Image Replacement Documents

When the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act (Check 21) took effect in 2004, it required that all banks be able to accept an electronic image of a check rather than the paper check itself.

Today, when banks create electronic check images, they scan the checks to create electronic files and then destroy the original paper check. The electronic image may be reprinted onto a new type of document called an Image Replacement Document (IRD) or Substitute Check. Because the IRD replaces the original check, it is a legal negotiable document, which is subject to the same conditions and regulations as an ordinary check.

Image Replacement Document compliance & security

Relyco provides IRD paper specifically designed to ensure Check 21 compliance in addition to compliance with the ANSI X9.100-140-2018 technical guidelines for size, layout, paper weight and document security. Our IRD paper is image-friendly and provides optimal scanning consistency. Moreover, the paper incorporates covert and overt security features to deliver fraud protection and is manufactured on high-quality safety paper for superior laser printer compatibility.

Our 1-up 8.5” x 11” IRD paper layout is also compatible with the Federal Reserve’s PDF delivery program for return substitute checks.

Look into our check solutions that can help you ensure compliance and security or contact us with any questions. Interested in purchasing IRD paper? Visit our online store.

*This blog post was originally published in August 2011, it was updated in June 2019.