What Security Features Are Available for Check Printing?

check printing

When attempting to make a payment or send money, checks can still be more convenient than sending money through online means. It can be challenging to sync together transactions online, and sending money through bank transfers may incur fees. For this reason, many people prefer to use checks rather than the more modern alternatives.

Those wondering where and how to print checks may also have concerns regarding check security. Unfortunately, checks are not the most secure option, and for larger transactions, it may be smarter to avoid using a check. However, high-quality check printing services offer a few solutions to this problem. While these companies cannot guarantee check security, they can improve the likelihood of the successful transfer of funds.

Before printing checks, look up the printing company online to read more about their security policy. Beware of companies that do not have explicit policies and practices in place for secure check printing. Here are a few features of a company and its check printing process to look out for before ordering your next set of checks.

Company Certifications

Check printing services often receive a number of certifications before going into business to display the security and level of service they are willing to provide. Companies with an AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) certification are generally a safe bet. You can read more about this professional organization and its policies on the AICPA website.

Another industry-standard certification for payment and check printing companies is the PCI data certification. PCI stands for Payment Card Industry, and the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council is the organization that declares that a particular company is “PCI compliant”.

PCI compliance means meeting the data security standards for the payment industry at large. All high-quality check printing service companies should have information on their website regarding their PCI compliance. You can read more about PCI security standards here.

Printing Materials

The material used to print checks typically provides a basic level of check security. This begins with the paper stock that the checks are printed on. Many online retailers through sites like Amazon claim to sell paper stock for check printing that enables high-security check printing, but instead make it easier to create convincing falsified checks. Use all-in-one check printing services that include the paper stock to avoid printing errors and lower-security checks.

Another major component to printing secure checks is thermochromic ink. Thermochromic ink changes colors depending on temperature, which potentially enables banks or payees to see when a check has been tampered with in the past.

If the check has been digitally edited or photocopied, the evidence should be visibly apparent because of the ink. In many cases, the text on the check will be transparent when exposed to high heat. Speak with your check printing service to see what kind of ink they use for check printing and how this enables your checks to stay secure.     

Check Features

Several added features are involved with check printing that can increase the document’s security and better guarantee that money reaches its destination safely. The first of these is the watermark. For check printing, the “Fourdrinier” watermark is the most common, as it is only easy to see when held directly up to a light source. This watermark allows for the rest of the check to be readable by an ATM, even if the watermark overlaps the larger areas of text.

On the back panel of the check, the phrase “Do Not Negotiate” should be printed. Printing this guarantees that no one besides the explicitly named payee will be unable to deposit or cash the check. Near the same area, look for the text “check here if mobile deposit,” or similar. This allows the check to be deposited into a bank account from the payee’s mobile phone, meaning the check can likely be deposited faster.

Most checks should also be printed with a chemical wash detection box. This prevents check washing from chemicals such as acetone, benzene, or bleach. If these chemicals are used on a check with the wash detection box, the box will change colors to indicate tampering and invalidate the check. The chemical wash detection box should always be white by default.

Check printing services may also offer barcode tracking or inventory control numbers. You can usually find these numbers printed in the top right corner of the check. The printing company will provide you with tracking numbers for when the checks in the mail are on their way to you.

The Best Way to Keep a Check Secure

The best way to keep checks secure has less to do with how the check is printed and instead largely to do with how the check is handled and sent. When sending a check through the mail, always use a security envelope to ensure that the check is not visible from the outside.

When mailing a check, consider sending the check through certified mail, particularly if the check is for a denomination larger than a thousand dollars. For certified mail, the sender gets a receipt when dropping off the item at the post office and an online tracking number. First-class and certified mail also arrives much faster, meaning the check will spend less time in the mail and thereby be less vulnerable to theft.  

Conclusion– What Security Features are Available for Check Printing?

Check printing services offer many services that help keep your checks secure, but ultimately the responsibility for preventing check tampering and theft lies with the payer and payee. Checks are unfortunately not as safe as other payment methods, so when convenient, send money through online methods such as bank transfers or platforms such as Venmo and Paypal.