As a business owner you always want to provide your clients or customers with as many payment methods as possible. At the same time you need to protect yourself against any possible fraudulent activity, never mind the fact that your bank will charge you a fee if the check bounces.
Checks can be difficult to accept because there is no standard printing method and different banks issue a variety of different checks. For this reason many business owners do not, or reluctantly do, accept checks.
Not accepting checks could cause you to lose out on significant additional revenue each month. Below we examine a couple of check verification methods that will enable you to accept good checks that will get you paid and improve convenience for your customers or clients.
Look at the Check
As part of the check verification process, one key issue that may seem obvious to some, but is not obvious everyone is what is actually written on the check. You need to make sure that the dollar amounts written on the legal line match what is written in the box.
In viewing the check there are a couple of things to keep in mind to ensure its legitimacy. Some of those considerations are:
- Where is the bank logo or address?
- Following the legal line, is there a security padlock?
Is that a Real Phone Number?
If the phone number of the bank is printed on the check, calling may just be a ruse as many fraudsters print phone numbers on checks that go to false “bankers” who are eagerly awaiting your phone call. If you do make the call make sure that you pull up the bank’s website and that the number on the check matches the number on the website.
Use Databases to Your Advantage
Partnering with a check service company that has access to a check writer database is well worth the cost and can give you piece of mind when it comes to the legitimacy of checks. The check service proactively works on your behalf to verify the quality of the check writer and the chances that the dollar amount written on it will come to fruition.
The MICR Line
The Magnetic Ink Character Recognition Line, or MICR line, is the information that appears at the bottom of a check that includes the bank’s routing number, the customer’s account number and the check number. All legitimate checks have MICR lines that are printed in a low-key manner with un-raised ink. MICR lines have very specific fonts that only certified check processing equipment can verify. Changing the MICR line in any fashion is the root cause of 62% of all counterfeit checks. The two most recognized font types that meet international standards are E-13B and CMC-7. Reviewing the MICR line is critical when it comes to determining the veracity of a check.
Technology is slowly pushing out the need for printed physical checks and even cash. Many experts feel within in the next decade all payments will be done digitally. However, while they are still around there is still a way that you can accept checks safely.