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What is Check Processing?
Check processing machines are used to imprint signatures, print dollar amounts, apply endorsement stamps, and enforce security measures to protect and restrict access to checks. These machines are ideal for accounts payable and payroll operations processing large volumes of checks where efficiency and secure fiscal control is essential.
Choosing the Right Processor
Different machines have different security measures. Decide what level of security is required. Security measures range from simple locks and keys so that unauthorized personnel cannot access the machine to programmable passwords specified to individual users and accounts.
Decide exactly what kind of machine you want. If you want a machine that does more than one job, you may want to consider a multiple use device like a signer/endorser, which can sign and endorse checks. Below you will find some questions you should consider in order to help you pick the check processor that will best fulfill your needs.
Factors to Consider
Types of Check Processors
What are your security concerns? Some common security interests are:
- Dual key locks for machine operation
- Lock on the signature plate cover to prevent tampering with the signature
- Ultraviolet ink responds under a fluorescent light to prove authenticity
- Tricolor ink prints the signature in three colors to stifle alteration
- Password protection for individual accounts
- How many people will be using this machine?
- How many different accounts do you need to have the machine process?
- Do you need to process foreign currencies?
- How large will the check amounts be that the machine will be processing (# of digits)?
- How large are the documents you need to process?
Do you want your check processor to have auditing capabilities?
Some of the machines have the ability to print various reports that can be used for auditing and security. Some examples are operator reports for balancing, daily reports for single transaction detail, and summary reports for transaction report by operator.
- How fast would you like to process your checks?
Check Writers are used to print data on blank checks, including the payee, date, and amount (multiple currencies). The most commonly used version of check writers are manually operated. Electronic models are available as stand-alone devices or they may be attached to personal computers.
Check Signers are used to sign checks (using engraved signature plates) that have already been imprinted using a check writer or one written by hand. Most models include plates for two signatures.
Signer/Endorsers are machines available with one or both functions, which can either imprint a signature (using engraved plates) or emboss (also engraved plate) the back of checks with specific banking/deposit information (bank name, account number and branch number).
Check Protectors guard against check fraud by imprinting the check amount directly into rather than "on to" the check fabric. This makes alteration to the original check information very difficult.
Check Certifiers acknowledge that the signature of the maker is genuine and that there are sufficient funds on deposit for its payment by stamping on the face of the check.
- Adjustable Guides: Feed the documents into the machine for processing and assist in determining the location for the imprint/endorsement. These guides are adjustable to accommodate different paper sizes.
- Audit: An examination of records or financial accounts to check their accuracy.
- Automatic Last Form Shut-off: Energy saving feature that automatically turns off the machine after the last document has been processed. This is very helpful so that you don't have to sit next to the machine and wait for the job to be completed.
- Automatic Trip: A detector that automatically runs the machine when a document enters its path.
- Batch counter: A visual counter on the machine that tallies every time an imprint or endorsement is made.
- Resettable: The counter can be reset to 0 at any time to start a new count.
- Non-Resettable: The counter cannot be reset. This is the more secure option and allows you to strictly monitor usage.
- Continuous Feed: Documents that are connected enter the machine continuously without pausing for reloading (opposite of cut sheet). See the picture on the right.
- Crash Imprinting: Signifies that the machine is made with a metal etching plate (magnesium) instead of rubber, which allows the imprint to "crash" through a multi-form document such as a carbon copy and leave the imprint on all the documents instead of just the top one.
- Cut Sheet: Individual document that is not attached to others (opposite of continuous feed). See the picture on the right.
- Digit Capacity: Maximum number of digits the machine can print. Important because you will want to consider the largest check amounts you regularly write.
- Dual key Access: Two separate locks that have to be unlocked for the machine to operate.
- Endorse: To write one's signature on the back of (a check, for example) as evidence of the legal transfer of its ownership, especially in return for the cash or credit indicated on its face.
- Hopper: Holds the blank documents in a stack before they enter the machine.
- Hopper capacity: The number of documents the hopper can hold.
- Imprint: To produce (a mark or pattern) on a surface by pressure.
- Imprint Area Size: How large of an imprint the machine will make on a document. Consider the imprint area in relation to the size of the signature you want and the size of the documents you will be stamping.
- Max Paper Width: The widest check size that can be fed into the machine.
- Max Paper Length: Defines the longest check size that can be fed into the machine.
- Max Speed: Number of checks per minute that the machine can process.
- Metal Cast Construction: A high quality construction. Essentially the machine is made using metal, which will prevent the machine from breaking easily.
- Signature Plate: This is the metal template that has your signature engraved into it. The machine uses this template to stamp your signature onto documents. A signature form will be sent upon purchase to be submitted to the manufacturer. This form will be used to create your customized signature plate. See picture on the right.
- Tamper resistant: Made with screws that are not un-screwable with a traditional Phillips or flathead screwdriver. The manufacturer alone can open up the machine. This feature is meant to deter people from trying to open up the machine and tamper with the components.
- Tri-color Ink Roll: Special ink roll that has three separate colors. The machine uses this roll to create signatures in three colors (for signature example, see picture on the right), making it harder to forge or alter.
- Ultraviolet Roll: Special ink roll that uses ink that becomes apparent under a fluorescent light. This ink is used to stifle alteration in checks and prove whether or not the check is authentic.