FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Design Specifications for Cheques and Deposit by Prettyclear

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									                                                               FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
                                               Design Specifications for Cheques and Deposit Forms




     FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS FOR
                      CHEQUES AND DEPOSIT FORMS

                     Prepared by the Printing Standards Sub-Committee

                                         January 2007

The following are some of the questions that are frequently asked by printers who are new
to cheque printing or seeking updated information. They are to be read in conjunction with
the specifications for printing of cheques and deposit forms as detailed in Magnetic Ink
Character Recognition (MICR) Technical Specifications and Design Specifications for
Cheques and Deposit Forms.

The questions have been divided into the following topics:
   • Getting started and general questions
   • Customer printing own MICR
   • Design
   • Security
   • Colour

Getting Started and General Questions

1.      How do we apply for a Printer Identifier?

        Application for a Printer Identifier is to be submitted direct to APCA, click here to
        obtain the application form.

2.      How can we ensure that DANs and PANs are used effectively?

        To speed up the approval process for reprints, printers are to quote the previously
        allocated DAN and PAN (if available).

3.      Please explain in simple terms the DAN and PAN procedures?

        The Design Approval Number (DAN) is for approval of the layout of the cheque. A
        DAN is not concerned with the specific details of the data elements. Its main
        concern is to ensure that the required data elements are present and to indicate
        where each one will be located on the document. Each different layout must be
        allocated its own DAN. An approved DAN can be used for different customers using
        the same design layout.

        A Printing Approval Number (PAN) is for approval of what will actually be printed in
        the data element fields and when a machine proof is submitted, the PAN also
        includes approval of the colours.

        A DAN and PAN must be allocated and a Confirmatory Authority held before printing
        can commence. In most instances the DAN and PAN procedures will be combined.




               Australian Payments Clearing Association Limited [ABN 12 055 136 519]
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                                             Design Specifications for Cheques and Deposit Forms




      Refer Appendix E of Design Specifications for Cheques and Deposit Forms for a
      complete explanation of the approval processes.

4.    Why is the same design acceptable to one Financial Institution, but not another?

      If a design conforms to the current design specifications, it will be acceptable to all
      Financial Institutions.

      If Institution A believes that a layout for which a DAN has been allocated by
      Institution B does not conform to Design Specifications for Cheques and Deposit
      Forms, then it is the responsibility of Institution A to make enquiries with Institution
      B, which allocated the DAN, to resolve the matter.

Customer Printing Own MICR

5.    Do we need a PAN if we print our own MICR on a desktop publishing system?

      Yes, a PAN is required for each of the customer’s in-house systems that are used
      for printing MICR. The customer is therefore required to register with APCA as a
      printer and be allocated a Printer Identifier. The customer's Financial Institution will
      quote that Printer Identifier when the PAN is allocated. If the customer has
      accounts at multiple Institutions, the customer must request a PAN from each
      Institution.

6.    We would like to print our own cheques. How do we know which desktop printer to
      buy?

      “Try before you buy” is the best approach. It is recommended that an experienced
      supplier should be used and arranges to have some sample documents tested by
      the relevant Financial Institution before making a commitment to buy. Note: MICR
      toner must be used to print MICR encoding.

Design

7.    Can the drawer’s address be printed on the cheque?

      This is a proprietary matter for each Institution to determine.

8.    Do Utility Payment vouchers printed with OCRB have to conform to Design
      Specifications for Cheques and Deposit Forms?

      It is a proprietary matter for each Financial Institution to determine the design
      requirements of these vouchers.

Security

9.    How can I use Thermochromic Ink?




             Australian Payments Clearing Association Limited [ABN 12 055 136 519]
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                                                Design Specifications for Cheques and Deposit Forms




         Thermochromic ink may be printed on the front or reverse of the document. When
         printed on the front, it should be printed as a patch. Legally required text and the
         warning band must not be printed in thermochromic ink that disappears when heat
         is applied. When printed on the reverse, it may be printed as a patch or pattern
         provided that it is printed as scan non-readable at 20 C. The reaction temperature
         should be between 25 C and 27 C. The Warning Band must state where the
         thermochromic ink is located and how it should react.

10.      Why have Metameric and Intaglio printing been removed as security features to
         protect a cheque against counterfeiting?

         The changes have been made to keep Publication Design Specifications for
         Cheques and Deposit Forms current as these security features are no longer used
         on cheques printed in Australia.

11.      If asterisks are not printed in the Amount in Figures, will Financial Institutions reject
         the cheques?

         No, but it is strongly recommended that the Amount in Figures be protected by the
         use of asterisks particularly on cheques with a pre-printed $-sign. The Amount in
         Words and Payee should also be protected by asterisks.

12.      What do we have to do to meet the security features requirements?

         The security features are listed in Section 6.2 of Design Specifications for Cheques
         and Deposit Forms. These are shown as security features intended as protection
         against alterations (section 6.2.1) and those for protection against counterfeiting
         (section 6.2.2). Details of the chosen security features to be printed for a particular
         order for cheques must be detailed on the Order for Specially Printed
         Cheques/Deposits form.

13.      Why has there been a reduction in the maximum height for Micro Printing?

         This reduction in the maximum permitted height from 0.3mm to 0.25mm is due to
         the improvements in technology of scanning and printing equipment generally
         available.

14.      What are some examples of Warning Bands?

Generic Warning Band

      This cheque is protected by security features which include:
      • {insert feature and method of testing};
      the absence of this feature could indicate a fraudulent cheque.

The following are suggested Warning Bands:

Example 1




                Australian Payments Clearing Association Limited [ABN 12 055 136 519]
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                                                  Design Specifications for Cheques and Deposit Forms




      Security feature included in this cheque is a microprinted signature line; the absence
      of which could indicate a fraudulent cheque.

Example 2

   This cheque has been printed on sensitised watermarked paper; hold up to light to
   view; the absence of the watermark could indicate a fraudulent cheque.
Example 3

      This cheque is protected by security features which include:
       • Fineline geometric pattern in background; under a magnifying glass the lines must
         be continuous; if not the cheque could be fraudulent.

Example 4

      This cheque is protected by security features which include:
       • Ultra Violet fluorescent ink pattern, which can be verified under a ultra violet light;
         the absence of which could indicate a fraudulent cheque.

Example 5A

      This cheque is protected by security features which include:
       • Thermochromic ink – the grey* pattern on the reverse of this cheque will
         disappear if heated above 27 C*. No visible reaction may indicate a fraudulent
         cheque.

Example 5B

      This cheque is protected by security features which include:
       • Thermochromic ink – the green* pattern on the reverse of this cheque will change
         to blue* if heated above 27 C*. No visible reaction may indicate a fraudulent
         cheque.

* examples only



Colour

15.      How do we know that the PCS is right unless we have printed the job?

         When printed on a best endeavours basis, the job will not be rejected. The printer
         must be seen to be trying to get it right and make adjustments if necessary at the
         next reprint. Where advice from a Financial Institution is ignored at subsequent
         reprints, the Institution will be entitled to reject a job.

16.      We do not understand foreground and background terminology. Please explain?




                  Australian Payments Clearing Association Limited [ABN 12 055 136 519]
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                                                       FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
                                       Design Specifications for Cheques and Deposit Forms




Foreground printing is the essential readable data, ie data that is or will be printed in
the Areas of Interest, refer Section 2.2 of Design Specifications for Cheques and
Deposit Forms, and must be retained in an image of the document (scan readable).

Background printing, while necessary for the security of the cheque is not to be
retained in an image (scan non-readable).




       Australian Payments Clearing Association Limited [ABN 12 055 136 519]
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                                             Design Specifications for Cheques and Deposit Forms




17.   Why don’t the Financial Institutions commit to colours by providing a list of the
      “acceptable” colours for guidance?

      There are too many variations that can affect the outcome, ie:
      • Paper
      • Printing process
      • Design (screen levels, colour matching and mixing, etc)

18.   Why do Financial Institutions evaluate colour of the printed product when a machine
      colour sample was provided for printing approval?

      There are a number of factors that can effect the printing process, see the answer to
      question 15 above, which may result in the actual printed product being quite
      different to the machine sample supplied for approval despite the printer’s best
      endeavours to minimise such variation.

      Evaluation samples from the actual print run are tested for colour and the results
      advised to the printer along with the test results for MICR and security evaluation.

Toner adhesion and document permanence

19.   What do “toner adhesion” and “document permanence” mean?

      It is important to ensure that the name of the payee and amount printed on a cheque
      cannot be easily removed. Toner adhesion refers to how well the laser printed
      details “stick” to the paper if an attempt is made to remove them. Document
      permanance depends, naturally, on the degree of toner adhesion and is generally
      an indication of how well the printing “remains” on the paper over time.

20.   What can I do to ensure good “toner adhesion” and “document permanence”?

      The moisture content of the paper will affect the level of toner adhesion and thus
      permanance. Printing on paper with a moisture content above 5.5% will adversely
      affect toner adhesion which may mean the printing does not have an acceptable
      level of permanence.

      Un-printed cheque paper, or pre-printed cheque stock, should be stored in a
      moisture proof wrapper at all times prior to printing, or in-filling of the amount and
      payee details. Paper will gain or lose moisture depending on the relative humidity of
      the air if it is not kept in a moisture proof wrapper prior to printing. Refer Design
      Specifications for Cheques and Deposit Forms.




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