Why MICR Toner Is Critical for Check Security

What makes MICR so important? What constitutes “quality” MICR toner? Will generic toner work? Get answers to your MICR/check security questions here.

MICR Toner Check SecurityAdopted by the American Bankers Association (ABA) in the late 1950’s, Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) was established as the standard for negotiable documents.

It provides machines with an accurate reading of checking accounts, can be printed using existing technology and remained readable even through over-stamping, marking, mutilation and more.

So What Makes MICR So Important?

MICR toner plays a major role in preventing check fraud. Deviations from the standard can make the check unreadable by the bank’s automated sorters. Additionally, strict adherence to the standards of the MICR ink and the position of the MICR line on a check document, help assure quality.

Using MICR, checks can be examined more closely for consideration of their validity. The closer scrutiny can help to detect fraudulent documents.

What Constitutes “Quality” MICR Toner?

Quality is determined by the density of the toner and the amount of magnetic particles in the mix.

Can You Use Generic Toner?

Most of the remanufactured or generic toners will work, but printer manufacturers will normally only admit responsibility for toner issues if their preferred brands are used in their equipment. Using remanufactured or generic toner can invalidate their stated responsibility for issues caused by the toner.

Where to Buy MICR Toner

Relyco offers MICR toner cartridges compatible with MICR laser printers from many leading vendors, including TROY, HP, IBM, ACOM, Xerox, Lexmark and Source Technologies.

A Multi-Pronged Approach to Check Fraud Prevention

By using quality check documents, proper toner and a secure printing environment, you can minimize the risk of your documents being counterfeited. The more you protect your banking information, the more security measures you put in place (including proper MICR toner), the better you will be protected against fraud.

While the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recognized ABA’s standards in 1963, compliance is voluntary in the U.S. Still, the financial industry considers them to be the definitive measure of acceptable quality of a negotiable document. Relyco offers MICR toner cartridges guaranteed to comply with ANSI X9 standards for MICR printing.

Want to learn more about preventing check fraud? Click below to watch our recorded webinar, “The Five Most Important Ways to Protect Your Business Against Check Fraud.”





Protect Business Check Fraud



How to Prevent Check Fraud (Part 5): Work With a Trusted Advisor

In the last installment of our webinar, “The 5 Most Important Ways to Prevent Check Fraud,” we discuss the importance of working with a trusted advisor.

Check Fraud AdvisorIn the last installment of our webinar series, “The Five Most Important Ways to Protect Your Business Against Check Fraud,” we’re discussing the importance of working with a trusted advisor.

Click here to access our check fraud webinar any time, click the video to watch our final tip, or read the transcript below. And don’t forget to contact Relyco with any questions.

How to Prevent Check Fraud (Part 5): Work With a Trusted Advisor

With fraud so prevalent, you need to have confidence not only in the vendor your are working with, but the products as well. Secure checks are Relyco’s flagship product and we have spent the last 26 years continuing our research of fraud prevention to protect our customers.

Transcript:

Keith Zub: So number five. Relyco, you know, we’re a pioneer in this. We’ve been in it since 1989. We are on the ANSI committee. The ANSI committee sets the standard for check processing.

We work on the boards with the likes of Wells Fargo, Bank of America, etc., and every year, going to these conferences to make sure that Relyco as a company, and Joanie and myself, and the employees here are up to speed on anything new with check processing, and we make sure that our checks are proper.

Now I remember with the void-less window, people were sending us files to get something printed. We’d say, “well we have to take this out,” and they’d tell us, “well we don’t want you to touch the ‘void.’” We said, “well you know, it can’t be in the window anymore because the postal requirements are that it can’t be there.”

Joni van Gelder: And what about the convenience amount rectangle, the area around where your printed amount goes on your checks? That also has to be free of “void” or any, what they would call, extraneous information.

Keith: Yup!

Joni: And when we changed our checks and made that area lighter, we got a lot of questions because people would call and they would say, “you know your ink’s not right, it’s really faint over here.” But there’s a reason for that, that’s to allow the bank reader to pick everything up.

And what we do is we actually make the target window much larger than the standard really requires. And we do that because every software is a little different, and every printer has its own little print path. So the larger window gives you an easier range to hit.

Keith: And then so, you know, we talked about the ANSI committee, and of course, our combined experience of over 100 years of check security and customer service

Joni: And that’s just Keith!

Keith: Well, that’s just Joni and I! Right? Together? Yeesh! Imagine if they could see us they’d say, “wow they’ve been around forever.”

Joni: Well, most of our employees have been here a really long time, if you think about it. All kidding aside, we have employees here that have been here 12 years, 15 years, 20 years. So, there’s a lot of experience here that’s here for you to take advantage of. And then to get that support. Protect Business Check Fraud


How to Prevent Check Fraud (Part 4): Anti-Fraud Technologies & MICR Toner

Fighting check fraud requires a combination of secure checks, MICR printing, Positive Pay, and software. Here’s how these anti-fraud technologies work together to protect you.

Fight check fraud technologyWe recently hosted a webinar on “The Five Most Important Ways to Protect Your Business Against Check Fraud.” Since then, we’ve gotten great feedback, so we wanted to make our tips available in bite-sized portions you can digest at your leisure. That’s why we’ve put together this five-part series—each post highlights a different tactic to fight fraud and protect your business.

That said, you’ll get the most from our webinar when you view it in full. Click here to access our check fraud webinar any time, click the video to watch our fourth tip, or read the transcript below. And don’t forget to contact Relyco with any questions.

How to Prevent Check Fraud (Part 4): Combine Anti-Fraud Technologies

Fighting fraud requires a combination of secure checks, MICR printing, Positive Pay, and software. No one solution is effective on its own.

Transcript:

Keith Zub: So what we’re talking about with step four–and we have five steps so we’re getting close here–is combining technologies to fight fraud. So first we’ll talk about hardware. When you talk about hardware, you want to make sure you have a MICR printer that has the fonts embedded on it. You don’t want to take this to a regular printer.

I mean, a MICR printer is manufactured to handle the MICR toner. And MICR toner has magnetic properties in it, so that when it goes through a bank scanner, it can read those. And it can tell exactly how much the check is and what account it came from.

So that’s your hardware. When you’re talking about software, you want to have software and you want to have Positive Pay. And Joni, Positive Pay is…

Joni van Gelder: Positive Pay is part of check software, if it’s available. And basically what happens is when you do a check run, it transmits an electronic file to the bank and it tells you the check number and I believe the “pay to the order name” (payee name), and the amount. And when the checks are presented for payment, that file is actually matched to make sure that those checks haven’t been altered.

Positive Pay is hands down one of the best ways to ensure that your checks have good security within them. Certainly, you want to load it up on the paper side, but that’s a technology that’s hard to beat because the bank has the file and there’s not much else you can say about that.

And again, speaking to your previous comment, if you have Positive Pay, and the bank isn’t checking the file, well now you have recourse because again, as a business owner, you have done your due diligence.

Keith: Mhmm. And that $25 check is just $25 and not $2,500 or $25,000. And you know, other software: there’s certainly password security that you can have so that no one can use the printer unless they have that security. Or scanned signatures for certain amounts. Say if it goes up to $1,000–anything after that has to have this scanned signature in there. Or a double signature.

Joni:  Or no signature at all in some cases.

Keith: Yup, correct. And we talked briefly about secure check stock, but when you want to layer your features onto your checks, whatever you’re going to do, we obviously Joni, want more than four. I know that’s the minimum, but when you’re talking about four, it’s not a significant cost at all when in-print process to add three or four more.

And like you said, make it harder for the person that’s going to fraud it to say, “whoops, I’m not going to try and do that.” That’s an easy one. So again here, we’re talking about all these gears meshing together to make a program that works for you to protect you and your company from fraud. Protect Business Check Fraud

How to Prevent Check Fraud (Part 3): Outsmart With Check Security

We’ve put together a five-part series using clips from our webinar to help you fight fraud. Here we discuss how to outsmart scammers with check security.

Check Fraud Security Checks

We’ve gotten great feedback on our recent webinar “The Five Most Important Ways to Protect Your Business Against Check Fraud,” so we wanted to make our tips available in bite-sized portions you can digest at your leisure. We’ve put together a five-part series using clips from our webinar to help you fight fraud and protect your business.

These tips are great for quick reference, but you’ll get the most from our webinar when you view it in full. Click here to access our check fraud webinar any time, click the video to watch our third tip, or read the transcript below. And don’t forget to contact Relyco with any questions.

How to Prevent Check Fraud (Part 3): Outsmart With Check Security

To comply with the ANSI standard for check processing security, all checks must have at least three security features and at least one security feature must cover each of these four areas: overt, covert anti-alteration, or anti-copy. Relyco has 17 security features that meet this need.

Transcript:

Keith Zub: We talked about Frank, and what a criminal he was. And we talked about, you know, covert and overt security features. And so now what we want to do is we want to explain what those are. Because, you know, you and I have been doing this for a little bit… [chuckles]

Joni van Gelder: And, well, it’s overt to us!

Keith: Right. So, let’s explain to the audience what we’re talking about.

Joni: Sure!

Keith: And then we’ll actually physically look at the face of a check and the back of a check.

Joni: Okay. If you have a security feature that’s an overt security feature, what that means is that it’s visible to the naked eye. And we’ll show you an example of that in the coming slide.

If you have a covert security feature, that means that you can’t see it with the naked eye; so you would either need a magnifying glass, or a black light, or something to bring out that security feature.

And anti-alteration security feature means, typically, that the paper has been treated in some way, like with toner adhesion, so that if someone tries to alter it in some way, it becomes very obvious that it’s been altered.

And anti-copy feature is a void pantograph: something that, when you try to make a copy, something will show up on the scanned copy so that you no it’s not an original document.

Keith: And the void is the most famous one that there is out there.

Joni: The void is the most famous one, but it’s actually one of the easiest ones to beat because, with laser printer security features being much more sophisticated than they were five or six years ago, you can adjust your resolution and you can get around it very easily.

Keith: Which is why we talked about blending all of these together to make sure you have a secure document.

Joni: Yup!

Keith: So now we’re going to look at the face of a check. So, how ‘bout if I test you on here?

Joni: Sure!

Keith:Which is which. That would be good.

Joni: Not a problem!

Keith: OK, micro perforation. And that’s just allowing for an easy tear, so that’s not a security feature. But we have Securatek™ Copy Prevention Technology. And that makes the reproduction of protected documents virtually impossible on a digital color copier.

Joni: So that would be an anti-copy security feature. You would not be able to do that.

Keith: Yup! Thermochromic. You put your thumb on it, and it disappears.

Joni: You know, that’s a tough one because, I mean, there is an image printed on the check that is done with thermochromic ink. Thermochromic is a heat-sensitive ink. So you can see the image, so in that respect it’s overt; but really the security feature is a covert one because you have to either rub it or breathe on it to change the temperature to make it work.

Keith: You studied for this test.

Joni: I did! I have cliffs notes.

Keith: And void-less postal window. I mean, that’s a feature of the check. And we talk about our compliance with the ANSI and that’s to keep compliance with that.

And microprinting. That’s too small for a photocopier. So if someone’s going to copy it, that would be—

Joni: That would be covert.

Keith: You gonna get these all right again?

Joni: Can I have a gold star?

Keith: Sure! Ah, warning band: alerts tellers or check recipient to see the presence of certain security features.

Joni: And that’s an overt feature.

Keith: Image friendly, again, check-compliant, Check 21. That’s a feature on the check, but it’s not a security feature. Padlock security.

Joni: That would be overt.

Keith: Yes. And, I remember at the beginning we talked about that clear band on the bottom. And we have to make sure that you have that 5/8 clear band on the bottom.

Joni: And that there’s nothing in there. There’s no color, no pantograph, nothing that will interrupt the scanning of the check when the bank goes to process it. And one thing that I should have mentioned is that, typically a bank will say that you need a minimum of three security features in order to achieve what they would call due diligence for check security. And our stock checks, using that as an example, have anywhere from 11 to as many as 18 security features. So we really load it up because we think that more in this case is better.

Keith: MmmHmm. And now we’ll go to the back of the check.

Joni: OK!

Keith: Um, endorsement warning, on the back.

Joni: That would be an overt feature.

Keith: And microprinting, which we have on the back and on the front and we already mentioned that.

Joni: Yup!

Keith: Um, copy-void.

Joni: Same as on the front. That’s considered to be a covert feature. Because you have to do something in order to engage it.

Keith: Simulated watermark… that’s an easy one, because it says the feature is visible when viewed at a 45 degree angle. But again, that’s one of those tricky ones because if you don’t look the right way at it, you don’t see it.

Joni: Right. If you’re looking at it straight on, you don’t know it’s there.

Keith: And anti-splice backer. That’s an overt feature, because if somebody was to clip the check to try and change something in there, they wouldn’t be able to match the back.

Joni: Yeah, sometimes people will try and cut up a few different checks to make a new one. And that is one of the features that makes that very difficult.

Keith: So, having said that, I think we’re ready to head on to the next slide!  

Protect Business Check Fraud

How to Prevent Check Fraud (Part 2): Think Like a Criminal

Each post in this five part series highlights a different tactic to prevent check fraud and protect your business. Here’s #2: how to think like a criminal.

Prevent Check Fraud CriminalOur check fraud experts Joni van Gelder and Keith Zub recently hosted a webinar on, “The Five Most Important Ways to Protect Your Business Against Check Fraud.” Since then, we’ve gotten great feedback, so we wanted to make our tips available in bite-sized portions you can digest at your leisure.

That’s why we’ve put together this five-part series—each post highlights a different tactic to fight check fraud and protect your business. Click here to access our check fraud webinar any time, click the video to watch our second tip: think like a criminal, or read the transcript below.

And don’t forget to contact Relyco with any questions about our high security check stock.

How to Prevent Check Fraud (Part 2): Think Like a Criminal

Understanding the methods used to alter checks means you are one step ahead of criminals. If you know the methods, you can select checks with security features that will help prevent it.

Transcript:

Joni: So really what we try to do is we try to just think like a criminal. I guess the best way to put it is, “if you can’t beat ‘em, think like them.

So, what we’ve found over the years is that people that are trying to perpetuate fraud are typically ones that are going to take the path of least resistance.

They’re going to look for a check that has a few, or no, security features—something that they an easily alter.

And we feel that, in terms of the check paper, multiple security features are always your best defense because, if something has 11 security features, or nine, or 14, somebody who wants to alter that check is going to look at that check and go, “nah, I’ll take the next one, the one that’s easier.

Keith: “I’ll take the next one that’s easier.”

Joni: Exactly. Exactly.

Keith: And what was that movie we were talking about yesterday. Catch Me If You Can?

Joni: Yes, yes. Frank Abagnale.

Keith: And that was, if I remember it’s been a long time. I think it was 2002 we said yesterday, cause we Googled it. And anyway, before he was 19 years old, he had frauded over 2.8 million dollars. By the time he was 19! All checks! One person!

Joni: Yep! Plus he flew people around the country!

Keith: And he was a doctor too!

Joni: Yes!

Protect Business Check Fraud


How to Prevent Check Fraud (Part 1): Get to Know the Numbers

Checks currently lead the pack in payments fraud, at 82%. Knowing the stats is the first step you need to take to prevent your business from falling victim to check fraud.

Prevent Check Fraud Know StatsiticsRecently our check fraud experts Joni van Gelder and Keith Zub hosted a webinar on “The Five Most Important Ways to Protect Your Business Against Check Fraud.

Since then we’ve gotten great feedback on the information we shared, so we wanted to make our tips available in bite-sized portions for you to digest on your own time. That’s why we’ve put together this five-part series. Each post highlights a different tactic to fight check fraud and protect your business.

That said, you’ll get the most from our webinar when you view it in full. Click here to access our check fraud webinar any time, click the video below to watch our first tip, or read the transcript below. And don’t forget to contact Relyco with any questions.

How to Prevent Check Fraud: Get to Know the Numbers

The first section explains current payment fraud statistics in the US based on data from the AFP Payments Fraud Control Survey from 2014. Checks currently lead the pack in payments fraud, at 82%.

Transcript:

Joni: You know, it’s becoming very common to to hear about fraud, and typically what you hear about in the news is debit card or credit card fraud, or this retail store got hacked, or what have you.

But what most people don’t realize is that checks are actually the leader as the payment-type most commonly frauded against. In fact, checks make up 82% of fraud attacks in the US—it’s a five billion dollar business, that business of fraud.

Keith: And that’s just in the U.S.!

Joni: Exactly! It could be as simple as, and I know I’ve done it, I’ve accidentally tossed a check that I meant to cash, somebody pulls the check out of the trash, they alter the microline, or they go to someplace where they’re able to cash it. And that’s fraud.

In fact recently, there was a group in San Antonio, there were four of them, and what they were doing is they were working with a local street gang, and they would fraud the checks and cash them, and then they would get to keep a cut and then the rest, of course, they had to give to the gang.

So it’s something that is not limited to a certain geographic area, or to a certain type of business. It’s really across the board, and it’s something that we all need to be aware of.

Keith: Yeah. And with the technology today, too. I mean, think of printers back in the day. I mean, you couldn’t copy a check on a printer or a scanner. It was very difficult. Now, you can take a scan of something and take a look at it. If that piece doesn’t have security features built right in–

Joni: It’s really easy to manipulate it.

Keith: It really is.

Protect Business Check Fraud