The Green Sheet Online Edition
October 26, 2009 • Issue 09:10:02
Beefed up RDC
Five years after inactment of the U.S. Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, the remote deposit capture (RDC) scanners tasked with recreating checks as digital images have grown increasingly refined to address previously overlooked problems such as when two checks adhere to one another.
That is one of the problems targeted, in a layered and advanced way, by the TellerScan 240 (TS240), a new RDC device from Digital Check Corp. Like many RDC scanners, the TS240 can be fed many checks at a time (up to 100), though they pass through the check scanner one at a time by an automated process.
For any number of reasons, two checks can stick together, a phenomenon known as "piggy-backing." The event can cause less sophisticated RDC machines to read one of the checks and bypass the other.
"You could get something on the check, for example if somebody's eating breakfast and gets maple syrup on the check," said Paul Rupple, Director of Marketing and Product Development for Digital Check. "If you're running a restaurant or something, that kind of stuff can happen. Sometimes it's just the paper of the check that causes it to stick. It's a very common problem."
Different checks on piggy-backing
The TS240 has several mechanisms that can identify double checks and prevent piggy-backing from morphing into a larger mishap. For one, Rupple said, if there's any "bleed through" on the magnetic ink character reader line (the magnetic numbers printed on the bottom of every check that contain, among other things, the consumer's bank account number) the TS240 will spot it.
As a precaution, it also checks a check's corners to make sure no other layer of paper lurks underneath. "The checks generally aren't going to line up exactly, and we inspect those corners to see if there's two showing and within milliseconds we can determine if it's a double feed," Rupple said.
Rupple added that some checks contain decoys that can trick some machines into thinking there is a double feed when there's only one check - such as a thick government check whose opaqueness looks like multiple checks, or personal checks that contain drawings of things like cars and domestic pets.
For these, the TS240 has a feature that "thresholds" the image down to its essentials to make it readable. The feature also allows financial documents other than checks, such as money orders and bank receipts, to be scanned and routed to financial institutions.
"Money orders have been a real problem in the industry because they use security paper, which is generally really difficult to handle in scanners or copiers, and because of the security feature, the blotter mark and the security ink they use," Rupple said. "When we scan a [document] we capture a jpeg image; then we threshold it down to a tiff image, meaning we're removing the background but keeping the important document information."
In house diagnostics
Rupple said the TS240 also contains a "franking" feature that acts like a stamp, verifying that a given check has already been run through the scanner. In addition, it has a catch-all device in the event that a problem of any sort arises: a built-in diagnostics program, which identifies the problem on the user's computer monitor and obviates the need for a troubleshooting phone call.
Digital Check Corp.
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