People are often the weak link in physical security (e.g. leaving doors unlocked etc) however, the same is often the case with cheque security.
RW Pierce manufacture cheques containing multiple authenticity & fraud detection features, as standard.
This short guide is to assist our customers achieve maximum protection against fraud

Best Practice Guidelines

For Using Business Cheques

About these Guidelines

These Guidelines are for all businesses, including schools and public bodies, who use cheques.

It contains advice to minimise the risk of cheque fraud.

Safe Control of Cheques

  1. Ensure cheques are kept in a safe or a secure cabinet, particularly overnight.
  2. Never allow anyone to take blank cheques home.
  3. Ensure that cheques have been removed from the computer printer after use and stored securely.
  4. Ensure that cheque completion (i.e. infilling) is properly supervised at all times.
  5. Never leave cheques unattended, signed or unsigned.
  6. Avoid holding excess stock and shred any obsolete stock.
  7. Take care to check against the possibility of individual cheques being removed from the middle of cheque books or from runs of computer cheque forms.
  8. Ensure that spoiled cheques are properly accounted for and destroyed.
  9. Undertake regular audits of cheque stock. Any discrepancies should be investigated and your bank advised immediately.

Letter Cheques:

Letter Cheques are letters listing the invoice(s) to which a payment refers with a cheque incorporated at the bottom of the page. Remittance Advices also typically have cheques incorporated in this way. Where more than one page is required, unused cheques at the bottom of the pages should be scored through with CANCELLED or infilled in such a way that they cannot be fraudulently misused.
Ensure access to computer programs is controlled by use of passwords and that all activities are recorded on an audit trail.

Laser Printers

If you use a laser printer for infilling cheque details, it is strongly recommended that it is a printer and toner that has been approved as a Grade One laser printer. (Smithers Pira works on behalf of the UK C&CCC to approve printers)

The Smithers Pira list is available from www.chequeandcredit.co.uk.

If you print the personalisation details (which may include bank name, branch details, sort code and account details) and the MICR code line, you MUST use a printer that has been approved by Smithers Pira and C&CCC for infilling and for printing MICR code lines.

For more information on using laser & inkjet printers, please refer to our Best Practice Guidelines for Infilling Company Cheques.

Inkjet Printers

We recommend the use of “Photo” grade inkjet printers to infill volumes of >5000 cheques per year. It is essential that you use OEM Photo grade inks.

  • Photo grade (pigment) inks do not fade.
  • Inks are absorbed into paper, giving resistance to tampering.

For more information on using laser & inkjet printers, please refer to our Best Practice Guidelines for Infilling Company Cheques.

Hand Written Cheques

  • Use a ball point pen with indelible or permanent black or blue ink to complete cheques – complementary pens may be available – please ask at time of ordering your cheques.
  • You should draw a line through all unused space so that fraudsters cannot write in extra names, change the amount in words or add extra numbers in the amount box.
  • Do not fold or staple cheques.
  • Be sure to complete all sections, including the payee name, and the amount in both words and figures. It is also good practice to include the word ‘only’ after writing the amount in words to prevent any fraudulent alteration.
  • Make sure you write the name of the payee clearly and correctly, starting from the left-hand side of the cheque and write the amount in figures as close to the £ sign as possible.
  • Don’t let your signature overlap the amount box and don’t use commas or € or £ signs in the amount box.
  • If you need to make amendments, these should be made clearly by crossing through the error and initialling or signing the correction.

Signing Cheques

  • Cheques should only be signed by authorised signatories.
  • Inform your bank of any changes to the mandate, particularly when authorised signatories leave the company.
  • Never pre-sign blank cheques.
  • The issue of cheques with pre-printed facsimile signatures should be strictly audited.
  • When signing machines are used, tight computer access controls and audit procedures should be established under the supervision of senior personnel.

Sending cheques by post

  • Ensure window envelopes do not reveal the contents.
  • Use envelopes of sufficient quality so that the contents cannot be revealed by holding
    up to light.
  • Do not use envelopes showing your company name and logo. This may serve to
    advertise the attractiveness of the contents.
  • If the cheque is for a large amount, you should consider making an automated
    payment. Your bank will be able to advise you of alternative payment methods.

Check Your Statements

  • If you have posted or issued a cheque, look at your statement to check that this has
    debited.
  • If you are expecting a cheque to credit your account, ensure this has happened
    within the expected timescales.
  • If you think you have been a victim of cheque fraud, contact your bank immediately.

RW Pierce has been manufacturing cheques since 1964.