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The Green Sheet Online Edition

February 22, 2016 • Issue 16:02:02

New checks target mobile deposit fraud

What do you get when you pair a company steeped in check printing with one that dominates the mobile imaging market? A new check that practically eliminates the possibility of fraud and accidental duplicate deposits when mobile deposit is used.

Photo Safe Check Deposit is a paper check product Harland Clarke Corp., a business unit of Harland Clarke Holdings Corp., began delivering in January 2016. It incorporates security features that can only be read using mobile deposit software from Mitek Systems Inc.

Mitek, based in San Diego, holds numerous patents for mobile imaging technologies. The company claims its mobile imaging technology is used by more than 4,500 financial institutions and 60 million consumers, and gets used for 90 percent of all mobile deposits.

Harland Clarke grew from the combination of two of the oldest and largest check printing companies in the country (John H. Harland Co. and Clarke American Checks Inc.) and filled more than 60 million check orders in 2015. Other arms of the corporation provide intelligent media delivery for advertising, as well as data management, decision support solutions, and related products and services.

Consumer version first

Initially Photo Safe Deposit security features are being added to consumer checks; a corporate version of the new checks should start rolling off the presses later this year. "We knew that checks aren't going away," said Rick Ebrey, President of the Payments Division at Harland Clarke. "So we started looking at how do we create more efficiencies, and how to help our clients attack the challenge of check fraud." He estimated 90 percent of consumer checks coming out of Harland Clarke will contain the new security features, which require no changes on the part of check writers.

The new checks feature a Photo Safe Deposit icon (a camera-lock graphic) on the front. When the icon is recognized by a mobile device running Mitek's mobile deposit software, the mobile camera scans for additional security features on the back of the check. One of the features, Image Match, is the MICR code line from the front of the check reprinted on the back. The new checks also feature Mobile Mark, a box depositors check when using their smartphones to deposit checks.

Easier risk calibration

The new features are intended to minimize endorsement forgeries, for example, a fraudster who uses the mobile channel to pair the back of one legitimately endorsed check with the fronts of multiple fraudulent checks. Plus it protects against front and back mismatches when depositing multiple checks at the same time, which Marek Helcl, Product Owner at Mitek, said is a more common problem with mobile deposit. "It also prevents accidental duplicate deposits," he added.

The potential for duplicate deposits has been a concern among banks and credit unions with the advent of remote deposit capture (RDC), and especially now with the rise of mobile RDC. The consultancy Celent LLC estimated that roughly one third of adults with bank accounts made mobile deposits last year. Half of all banked adults are expected to use mobile deposit in 2016, according to Celent.

Ebrey suggested that over time, as more consumers and businesses use these new checks, financial institutions should be able to better calibrate risk thresholds for mobile deposit products. end of article

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