While taking advantage of an outsource check printing service can take the weight off of your shoulder, there are a number of things you should consider before you decide to use 3rd-party services.
Before you print checks online, you should think of the basics, the first being security.
Security and Data Privacy – When it comes to online check printing, at a minimum, consider only companies that have a SOC audit done. There are several different types, but in general, There are several different types, but generally, an audit by a 3rd party CPA verifies that you are fulfilling the various protocols and controls on your critical systems, including system security, data backups, physical location security, and financial reporting, insurance, etc.
If you are dealing with any medical or PII data, you are going to need to make sure the company is HIPAA-compliant before you let them print checks online. This should get you additional tiers of security above what the average company offers. If your users can get 2-factor authentication, where they can get codes sent to their phone for system authentication, this is a bonus. Also, if a concern is your data being sold or used for any other purpose than your direct use case, review the data privacy section of the agreement before you proceed.
As far as the transmission of your data goes, most systems encrypt the data you are uploading through their hosting provider’s SSL certificate, which provides 128-bit encryption for your data.
White-Labeling – The entire customer experience can be customized to you or your clients’ brands for every payment type and online check printing needs. Whether it’s custom Logos on the physical check and/or envelopes or our digital products, everything can be white-labeled in your company’s logo, text, URL, email address, financial statement descriptor, etc.
The Checks and Envelopes
Ensure that your checks are secure and as fraud-proof as possible. Some industry standards are a trifold 8 ½” x 11” sheet (including the middle memo section).
Some common security features that outsource check printing services should have are:
- Fourdrinier Watermark
- Thermochromatic Ink
- Toner Anchorage
- Explicit Warning Bands
- Chemical Wash Detection Box
- Visible Fibers and Payee Area Protection.
The high-security envelopes should have security tints or patterned, opaque printing on the inside of the envelope in order to prevent outside parties from noticing that there is a check inside.
In addition, the envelopes are constructed with durable papers to help increase mail security and made with moisture-and-tear resistant paper. Despite the security features, these envelopes are designed to have printable surfaces and lightweight construction for cost-effective mailings and are recyclable.
With our outsource check printing services and mailing security, we also decrease the risk of check fraud with MICR and laser check security and protect your business with built-in security threads, watermarks, toners, chemical sensitivities, and special fibers.
How Are You Going to Submit the Data?
There are a few ways to securely transmit the data:
A user interface will allow you to submit either single payments or upload a payment file. A payment file is typically a CSV file (you can save an Excel file as a CSV file), that has payment data in each row, whereas you can submit many payments at once using that method. API – API stands for application programming interface and is a connection between computers or between computer programs. This is basically a way to automatically transmit payment data through computers or servers without any users having to log in to systems in order to do so manually.
The Backend Online Check Printing Process
The typical process is typical as follows:
- Data integrity verification – Before the check printing can proceed, the check data is reviewed to ensure it makes sense before being processed. At this step, the address verification portion is done.
- Check printing – Printing the checks out on MICR(magnetic) ink using security check stock.
- Envelope insertion – Folding and inserting the checks into envelopes, which is typically used with a high-speed inserter.
- Metering the mail – This is where postage is applied to the envelope, and the mailing is inserted into the mail stream, including the United States Post Office, FedEx, UPS, etc.
Some Questions You’ll Probably Want to Ask Yourself to Identify Your Particular Use Case:
Do you need multiple bank accounts? – Do you need to process through one or just a few bank account, or are you a 3rd party service provider and may need hundreds or more?
Do you need a special check template? – Do you have any special needs for a check template. such as you need to insert a large number of invoice #’s for vendor reconciliation, or would you prefer a special logo or special design such as customized fields, text such as marketing materials, tables, etc? Or you can just use the standard template if you would like to keep things simple.
Do you need cashed check reporting? – Do you need visibility on whether the payment has been cleared by your bank?
Do you need USPS First-Class mail tracking? – USPS informed visibility offers you estimated delivery dates and step-by-step tracking of USPS First-Class mail delivery and real-time status updates on where your mailing is en route to the recipient. Is this something you would require or like to have?
How time-sensitive are your mailings? – Do you need your checks sent out that same day, or can they wait a few days before going out? Many check printing companies can process your payment files that same day, whereas files received on a weekend or banking holiday will be printed, processed, and mailed the next business day. Typically, a check can be canceled or deleted after it is submitted, either using the API or an administration system.
How quickly do you need your account set up? – The typical setup time for a new account at most check printing companies is several days for the account, and this is the time that is needed to authenticate the bank account to ensure that their client controls the account. In some cases, you can find a company that will authenticate them instantly. If you need modifications to your check template or API integration, it may take longer.
What reporting do you need? – Some typical offerings are downloadable reports in the form of Excel or CSV, as well as JSON formats that can be used to be imported directly into your own ERP, accounting, or proprietary system. There are direct accounting integrations available as well, such as Quickbooks, Xero, Freshbooks, etc.
Will you provide the check numbers, or do you need them automatically assigned? – With most systems, they will give you the option to either provide your own check number when submitting payments into the system or have the system assign your check numbers, based on incrementally increasing the count after you have provided a starting check number.
Do you need a copy of the check images? Some companies will provide you a PDF copy of all of the checks submitted and processed through their system if that is one of your requirements.
Additional Security – Positive Pay
Positive Pay Security – Positive Pay is a system that most US banks offer to help prevent check fraud. It consists of submitting files to the bank that contain issued check information such as the check number, issue date, and amount. When the bank receives a check, the bank compares the data on it to the issued check information provided by the client before clearing the check.
Some companies offer a solution that allows clients to provide their bank’s positive pay format to CI. Our system can automatically upload the positive pay files to the client’s bank or make them available for download on the client’s workstation.
Check Printing Services
- Same-day check printing and delivery service, expedited delivery available
- Instant on-the-fly bank account setup
- Automatic Cashed Check status updates
- Automatic Positive Pay File transmission
- Check image downloads available
There are many considerations you need to make while deciding on an online check printing company, and I hope this guide will help steer you in the right direction.