Did you know?

Cheque fraud losses increased to £53.6 million in 2019

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

In recent research of over 800 decision-makers, 58% admitted that financial loss due to payment fraud is ‘part and parcel of running their business’. Interestingly, 69% of these same decision-makers also stated that they should be doing more to mitigate against potential payment fraud.

Additionally, cheque fraud losses increased to £53.6 million in 2019, a 161% increase since the previous year according to ‘Fraud the Facts 2020’ from UK Finance. With fraudulent cheques on the rise for high-value corporate accounts, companies still dealing with cheques will need to enhance the security measures to avoid losses and being a prime target for fraudsters.

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Stopping cheque fraud in its tracks

To make cheque clearing more efficient and ensure that consumers could get access to funds faster, Pay.Uk launched the Image Clearing System in 2018 where a paper cheque is turned into an image. Unfortunately, fraudsters were able to find ways to exploit this new technology which resulted in further loss to many businesses.

In response, the industry introduced Image Survivable Feature (ISF), a feature designed specifically for the Image Clearing System. This way, data is encrypted to hide sensitive user information such as bank account details and personal data.

Similar to a digital signature, ISF uses cryptographic technology to protect both the authenticity and integrity of the cheque image from the moment it is printed and issued, to the point at which it is presented and cleared by the paying bank. The encrypted payment data is printed onto the cheque face, either as a string of text or machine-readable code.

Once the cheque is cleared, the ISF is decrypted and checked. This process highlights immediately any unauthorized alterations and makes it impossible for fraudsters to produce counterfeit cheques.

The future without cheque fraud

Major high-street banks are beginning to mandate the use of the ISF after seeing the security benefits of it. Soon customers may find themselves liable for cheque fraud if they are unable to make cheque payments without this feature.

However, a lack of access to offices and mailing rooms caused by the global pandemic has made it difficult for some businesses to print, sign or mail cheques and for their customers to present them.

If you find yourself in this position, you may need to buy new stationery, or work with an outsourced cheque printing service, where the printing of the ISF onto cheques is managed on secure premises and offers the ability to not only print but post too, giving you an end-to-end solution and taking the stress out of your cheque processing.

As a result of cheque payments declining, the cost of processing cheques is increasing. Outsourcing cheque printing services can help save your business money and provide an efficient, secure and reliable service that removes the need for industrial printers, stationery and valuable manpower. Notwithstanding those benefits, it’s certainly a way to help decision-makers live up to the idea of doing more to protect their business from potential payment fraud.


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