Cheques have been used by people all over the world, for over 350 years.

Although the use of cheques in the market to make payments has decreased over the years, the total loss to businesses that are still using cheques is significantly high compared with previous years, at 161% increase in 2019, according to UK Finance, 'Fraud the Facts 2020'.

How have cheques evolved?

In 2018, Pay.Uk introduced the Image Clearing System which allowed for images of cheques to be exchanged between banks and building societies. The Image Clearing System replaced the paper clearing process, and was a way to catch up with technology; thus making cheques digital for users to make electronic payments and improve processing timescales.

What is Image Survivable Feature (ISF)?

As fraudsters quickly figured, the Image Clearing System had some security vulnerabilities which were open to manipulation. In response, the industry introduced Image Survivable Feature (ISF), a feature designed specifically for the Image Clearing System. ISF is a relatively new feature which uses cryptographic technology to retain security features and sensitive information on cheques. The payment data is encrypted and printed onto the face of the cheque, either as a string of text or machine-readable code.

ISF may soon be a mandatory security feature required by banks. Businesses using cheques will need to invest in a solution - whether that's internal, or through an outsourced printing service, that allows them to be compliant and secure.

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video time: 01:44 video title: What is an Image Survivable Feature?

Why it matters?

Cheque fraud losses increased to £53.6 million in 2019.

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Learn more about outsourced cheque printing services and how to prevent cheque fraud:

How cheques have evolved, and why this is good news for fraudsters

This episode on the payments podcast is reviewing how cheques have changed to keep up to date with the digital consumer that expects payments fast.

Listen to the podcast

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video time: 00:11 video title: How cheques have evolved, and why this is good news for fraudsters


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