Even in the digital era, many businesses still write and print checks as a means of completing a payment. Working with a tangible paper check is often the easiest way to send money to vendors and contractors outside your business. Additionally, many people find that having physical checks can be extremely beneficial for paying employees. However, to ensure your payment data and information stays safe, you’ll want to consider a secure check printing and mailing service.
Paper checks will continue to remain useful for businesses large and small, even though they might seem old-fashioned for individual use. As long as these particular documents continue to remain in use, it is important that your business finds ways to make sure they are perpetually secure. Assuming your business will be immune to the risks of fraud or theft can often have significant consequences. When it comes to taking security measures, it is much better to be safe than sorry.
Fortunately, Smart Payables’ check printing and mailing services include a range of check printing security features that can help keep your business data safe. Increasing data security for your company’s information, as well as your payees’, can significantly improve how your business operates.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the basic elements of check printing security and look at a few of the ways you can keep your business information safe. We’ll also look at how an outsourced check printing and mailing company like Smart Payables will ensure the safety of your business’s as well as your payee’s data and account information.
Overview of the Check Printing Industry
People have been writing paper checks for decades, but without adequate payment security, making check fraud the primary risk associated with sending money. In fact, according to some recent estimates, as much as $14 billion worth of check fraud is committed in the United States each year.
Even in instances where check fraud can eventually be reconciled—whether this is through your bank or another third party—the costs and hassle associated with it is something that your business will want to avoid.
In order to develop a check security plan that is compatible with your business, there are a few things you will need to actively consider.
- What type of checks do you use on a regular basis? What kind of confidential information do these checks typically contain?
- Who are your payees and where are they located?
- How many physical checks does your business use per year? How many digital checks do you use?
- Which types of check fraud are most likely to happen to your business?
- What security measures do you already have in place and how can they be improved?
Check fraud can happen more often than you think. If your business doesn’t have a plan for handling critical data such as payee addresses and account information, it’s time to upgrade your check printing and mailing security. An outsourced check printing company like Smart Payables is the perfect way to get these concerns off your hands and guarantee your payment data stays safe.
Understanding Check Fraud and Other Risks
The term “check fraud” is rather vague and can be used to describe a rather wide range of criminal activities. Sometimes, check fraud can be as simple as simply signing someone else’s name. Other times, attempts to commit check fraud will be significantly more sophisticated and involve check washing.
In order to make sure your business is as secure as you can possibly be, it is very important for you to understand what is potentially at risk.
- Counterfeiting checks means imitating an otherwise legitimate check. The easier a given check will be to imitate, the more likely that someone could pull off a successful counterfeit. Having special types of ink, paper, and unique graphics can help keep you more secure.
- Forging checks describes criminal efforts to sign or endorse a check using an unauthorized name other than their own. This is likely the oldest variety of check fraud there is.
- Altering checks describes making any sort of unauthorized changes to a check. For example, changing the listed value of the check after it has already been signed is a form of alteration. Having special chemicals to prevent the act of check washing will help make successful alterations significantly less likely.
These are likely the most common ways that check fraud can occur. More recently, many criminals also have begun engaging in a practice known as check kiting. Check kiting is a complex practice that involves the use of multiple different financial institutions. Essentially, by praying on overdraft allowances that occur between banks, the criminal will be able to gain premature access to deposited funds (that would otherwise be inaccessible).
Though each of these practices have a tremendous amount of variations between them, there are two things they all have in common. First, these are essential reasons why business owners should be mindful of who they are exchanging checks with. Second, each of these practices can be effectively prevented by increasing various security features.
Helping Keep Your Physical Checks Secure
With so many different types of check fraud in circulation, it can often be quite difficult for you to know where to begin increasing your security features.
The most obvious way to protect your checks is to increase the amount of paper security features you have present. This can include a variety of physical attributes such as watermarks, security threads, enhanced toners, chemical sensitivities, special fibers, and numerous others. These features will be particularly useful for avoiding counterfeiting and alterations.
Furthermore, the specific design of your checks is also something that should be actively accounted for. Using text, fonts, layouts, and graphics that are specific to your business can help your specific checks much more difficult to counterfeit. As an additional benefit (unrelated to security), these design features will also help you further establish your brand.The most secure checks are the ones that are not only able to withstand the risk of fraud, they will also be able to withstand problems relating to chemical wash and heating.
Streamlining Digital Security
If your business wants to increase efficiency, establish a greater sense of professionalism, and also continue your effort to make your checks more secure, you should strive to create a system that also includes various digital security features. Features such as blank check protection, positive pay, and signature security can all help you avoid the risk of check fraud over time. Hardware such as encrypted data streams, password protected controls, and paper jam disabling will also be quite helpful.
Choosing the Check Printing Company that is Right for You
If you want to make your check payments safer and more reliable without having to worry about managing security yourself, partner with an outsourced check printing and mailing firm. Many of these organizations will also be able to help your business with other common needs—such as document printing and mailing—and will offer additional services such as ACH direct deposit automation, address cleansing, and check printing API integrations.
When comparing pricing and packages, there are a few things you should be actively looking out for.
- The physical and digital security features that are readily available
- The cost per unit and the amount of volume that their organization can handle
- Other services (statement printing, marketing, etc.) that are also available
- The quality of the customer service—are they willing to answer your questions?
By reviewing each of these variables, you should be able to easily tell if a prospective check printing and mailing company is right for your business.
Conclusion- Why Secure Check Printing is Imperative
Overall, the need to have a variety of check security features is something that ought to be universally apparent. Check fraud is a growing problem and one that is expected to continue increasing over time.
Fortunately, this problem is something that can be actively avoided by making the right choices in advance. Because cashing and receiving checks is essential for many businesses’ day to day operations, there are more useful security features available than ever before. By making the decision to upgrade your security, you can be much better prepared for the future.
For more information on check printing security features, contact Smart Payables at (720) 287-0030 or toll free at 1-844-CO-SMART.