Launch Of New Scanned Cheque Image Quality Tool
The TALL Group of Companies, the UK leader in the provision of secure paper and electronic payment solutions, has developed an API that allows financial institutions to carry out image quality tests on captured cheque images before they are injected to the central clearing infrastructure. Allied Irish Bank (AIB) has become the first bank to utilise the cheque image quality tool, which has now been made available to support the wider banking industry following the introduction of the new Image Clearing System (ICS) in October 2017.
The Image Quality Assessment (IQA) application is available as a component of the CheckMate® fraud prevention software suite, originated and developed by The TALL Group and now successfully deployed by its UK franchise AIB Group (UK) plc.
AIB’s requirement to validate and verify the scanned cheque image quality they are capturing before they are submitted to the Switch is a key feature of their commitment to support the Image Clearing System. This helps the bank to meet the standard set out by the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company that states “service participants must apply suitable controls within their processes to ensure the quality of the images are sufficient to allow them to undertake their bankers’ duties”. The standard also determines that if the collecting bank chooses not to undertake IQA at capture, “they do so at their own risk that submitted images may be flagged as non-compliant”.
Under the standard, images are likely to fail the assessment if they contain one of the following faults: undersized or oversized, folded or torn document edges or corners, excess document skew, images that are too light or dark, horizontal streaks present, unacceptable compression size, excessive spot noise.
In his recent white paper, ‘Cheque Fraud Detection in the New Clearing Model’, Gordon Madgwick, ex Operations Director, Cheque & Credit Clearing Company, noted: “The paying bank has to be able to read the images, not only to undertake technical checks i.e. words and figures match, within date and correctly signed but also for their fraud detection image analysis to work. Should the paying bank be unable to read the image then the cheque will not be paid with the need for the beneficiary bank to liaise with the collecting bank (usually the same bank) to recapture the image from the original paper and to represent both the front and rear images together with new data. As the cheque has not been paid due to the poor image capture then there is an unwanted and unwelcome delay for the beneficiary to be credited with the funds. Accordingly, the standard of image collection is important and a pre-submission check should be deployed at the point of capture to reduce exceptions within the ICS and to avoid elongated payment decisions. Rework is time consuming and expensive and can easily be avoided.”
By using The TALL Group’s application, AIB are able to validate the quality of images within the CheckMate® tool in order to pre-empt any possible elongated payment decisions or reputational damage to ICS deriving from poor quality images. Michael Coffey, Application Owner for Branch IT Systems at AIB, said that AIB was able to integrate the TALL Group API with its own internally developed Teller Application.
“The ability to integrate with our internal systems greatly reduced the development life cycle and enabled us to meet the very demanding ICS deployment schedule. Our decision to use the API and validate the cheque images at the front end of the transaction is also a big advantage for our customers. Having made the decision to rollout the TALL Group Document Reader to all our branches in 2015 it was a natural progression to use the image capability. Working in collaboration with the TALL Group we both benefited from each other’s expertise”.
Martin Ruda, Group Managing Director of The TALL Group of Companies, said: “The API has been developed and designed to enable the industry to optimise its image capture functionality at source and avoid delays and difficulties with poor scanned cheque image quality being injected into the system. By using CheckMate®, AIB can ensure the quality of the image is qualified at an earlier stage of its journey, whilst identifying those images that fall short of the standard.
“Images that do not meet the standard can affect the integrity and reputation of ICS and the shorter clearing window. Therefore, we will continue to develop our industry-leading portfolio of services and solutions in order to help the financial sector reap the full benefits of the new cheque clearing model.”