Cheque Printing: An overview of Australian cheque specifications and security printing requirements.
The printing of cheques in Australia is covered by a set of guidelines and security issues that every cheque printing company must adhere to.
Cheques are printed on a special security stock which has inbuilt security features.
This stock is around 92gsm – 94gsm, white in colour and reacts to certain chemicals. For example, if bleach is applied to this paper to remove or change the details and/or the amount, the colour changes to pink thereby highlighting the fact that the cheque has been tampered with.
All cheques are to be manufactured within a specific size. The cheque can form part of a cheque remittance but must be perforated so when it’s detached it falls within the size guideline.
All cheques are manufactured with the background of the cheque printed using fugitive ink.
Fugitive ink not only reacts to chemicals but if someone tries to erase any detail on the cheque, the background disappears as well.
The fugitive ink cannot be printed too dark as it will interfere with the OCR scanners ability to read the information on the cheques when being scanned at high speed.
Another security aspect are the signatures lines on the bottom of a cheque. Usually two are printed and each one is actually a line of type reduced to a very small size. The lines are referred to as micro line printing and if the cheque is copied, disappear during the copying process as they are too small to be duplicated.
When cheques are printed they may or may not be Arabic numbered. This is purely at the discretion of the customer. Arabic numbering is standard numbering that you may see on a docket book or an invoice.
After printing, cheques need to have certain numbering details printed at the bottom, This numbering line is referred to as MICR numbering (magnetic ink character recognition) and contains the cheque number, the BSB numbers and the account number.
Traditionally MICR numbering was added by using the letterpress printing process (or impact numbering) however over recent years non-impact MICR numbering has been developed ie, laser printed.
The Australian body responsible for the security aspect of cheque printing & encoding is the APCA, Australian Payments & Clearing Association.
- Standout box
- bullet points etc