For most U.S. merchants, business checks remain the primary payment tool used in routine business transactions. Due to the constant threat of check fraud, it is crucial for owners of both new and established businesses to understand and identify the various forms of fraud. To better protect businesses, merchants may utilize the latest and most effective check security features offered by top business check printing providers.
A single altered business check cashed successfully can cause significant harm. Consider this hypothetical scenario:
Living Treasures, a family owned native plant nursery in Northern California, opened in 2015. This morning, co-owners Sandra and Toby Ardis discovered an unauthorized charge of $5,000 on their business bank account. The cause? A fraudster performed check washing — one of the most common check fraud techniques —on a business check stolen from the Living Treasures office and successfully cashed the fraudulent document. Due to their unfamiliarity with check fraud, Sandra and Toby must now perform damage control and continue to remain more at risk than knowledgeable merchants who order secure check products from a high-quality business check printing provider.
Check Fraud Techniques
With the advancement of technology, fraudulent practices continue to improve. Common methods include:
- Forgery — unauthorized signing and cashing of a check
- Check copying — duplication of a check through the use of advanced photocopiers
- Check washing — the use of chemicals to remove details from a check, allowing them to be rewritten
- Toner lift off — the removal of toner with the use of a razor blade or adhesive tape
Standard and High-Security Business Check Features
In response to fraud, top providers offer a range of standard and high-security business check features. Depending on specific needs, merchants may consider using standard and or high-security business checks.
Standard security features primarily focus on deterrence. A sampling of features includes a microprint warning band border, photocopy void and microprinting below the endorsement line. One notable security feature, the Padlock Icon, is standard among reliable providers.
High-security check features provide protection with a variety of technologies such as heat-sensitive and chemical reactive paper, hologram materials, and watermarks. Of the 547 respondents to the 2017 AFP Payments Fraud and Control Survey by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), 59 percent identified the VOID mark as an effective feature in preventing B2B payment fraud. The respondents — cash managers, analysts and directors at banking, finance, retail, health services and construction businesses— also cited the dual-tone true watermark (36 percent), microprint line (35 percent) and the chemical wash detection box (22 percent) as effective.
Business checks outfitted with leading security features can decrease the risk of fraud. To obtain high-quality, secure business checks, merchants may use a highly-rated business check printing provider.
The Right Business Check Printing Provider
Before ordering the first stack of business checks, or reordering from the same company or bank, consider all provider options and each company's check security feature choices, third-party accreditation, customer service and reviews, style and customization services, costs and product quality. Once identified, merchants can benefit from time and cost savings, the assurance of professional products and increased financial protection.
When selecting a provider, merchants can refer to our guide, “Choosing a Business Check Printing Provider,” for step-by-step considerations. To learn more about business check security and how to find a provider that satisfies all business needs, download our free guide.