Image Survivable Features

In the secure document world, an “image survivable feature”, or ISF, is exactly what it says: Any mark, printed or otherwwise, on a piece of paper that survives the process of being scanned or imaged, so that it remains legible, and visible, on the image in digital format. Which kinds of image features are “survivable” has changed a lot over the years, as the technology used to copy and capture paper documents has evolved dramatically. The main purpose of Image Survivable Features, however, has stayed the same. And that purpose is making sure that said documents cannot easily be copied, altered, or faked.

The TALL Group has recently published a series of white papers on cheque security, including this one titled Cheque Clearing System: An Innovative Approach to Defeating Cheque Fraud, which deals specifically with image survivable features (or ISFs) as anti-fraud countermeasures.

Cheque Fraud Prevention

The addition of Image Survivable Features (ISF’s) onto the face of a cheque can greatly help with fraud prevention and ISF’s are becoming more readily available. Such features enable the cheque data to be captured and encrypted within a unique coded number (UCN) or barcode that can be applied to the original paper cheque, thereby ensuring the validation of the item when the image is scanned within the Image Clearing System (ICS) introduced in the UK in October 2017. Counterfeit items and fraudulently altered items can then be readily identified.

Unique Coded Number
UCN (Unique Coded Number) Image Survivable Feature


TALL prides itself in being at the forefront of security printing and payments solutions, acting as a trusted partner to major banks and financial institutions working together with organisations for nearly 30 years.

In addition, TALL has worked in close collaboration with DIA Europe, whose KAPPA Fraud Prevention platform validates cheques passing through the central image clearing system. This close partnership has resulted in the development of automated cheque fraud prevention tools designed to minimise fraudulent activity, in particular, the counterfeiting of cheques.

UCN Plus® Image Survivable Feature

UCN Plus® image survivable features

Developed specifically for Corporate or ‘Special’ Computer Cheques, UCN Plus® is an ISF consisting of an encrypted QR (Quick Response) code printed on the face of the cheque. UCN Plus® provides the bank and its cheque-issuing corporate customers with a robust and comprehensive cheque fraud prevention platform which fully survives the imaging process of the ICS.

Developed in partnership with DIA Europe, this patented ISF replicates the benefits of paper-based ‘Positive Pay’, by providing an automated, fully ‘hands-off’ version for the ICS, whilst removing the costs of data file preparation, transfer and any associated manual administration.

The UCN Plus® covers all codeline and variable data, including payee name, amount and date from the printed cheque.

The TALL Group offers two methods of ‘Special’ cheque production with the UCN Plus® applied: –

  • Customers can use the TALL Group’s ‘CheckPrint Solution™’, a software-based solution that enables customers’ own in-house infilling of computer cheques including the addition of the UCN Plus®
  • The TALL Group offers customers a ‘Cheque Bureau Service’ where cheque data is supplied to TALL who then securely manage the data to print, including the UCN Plus®, and then mail the cheques (where required) on the customer’s behalf