Tired of signing checks by hand? Got writer's cramp?
Then you're probably ready to find a way to automate the process. You have a few different options when it comes to automatically signing checks.
First - The rubber stamp
Benefits: It's inexpensive.
Disadvantages: It’s messy and still involves some manual labor.
Second - A check signing machine.
Machines been around for over 200 years and they’re certainly reliable.
Benefits: They can sign as many as 200 checks per minute.
Disadvantages: They're expensive to maintain and it costs a few hundred dollars just to add a new signature. They're also bulky and take up a lot of space in the office.
Third - Software.
When it comes to software, you have a lot of different options including having the signature added during the accounting process of writing the check. Although this can be tempting and convenient, it opens up your company to huge fraud risk. Unless you're a small business or the owner is paying the bills, we don't recommend this.
The signature should never be applied during the accounting process. Signature application or final approval of the check needs to be a distinctly different function from actually writing the check. This applies to medium and large businesses, or any business that has an accountant or accounting department paying bills.
In the world of check signing software there's THREE important points to look for before making a purchase.
1) Look for software that is independent from your accounting system.
2) Look for software able to print to blank check stock. Software designed to print the signature should also have the ability to print the MICR bank info. Printing to blank check stock cuts the cost of sending checks by 80%. You can use the same blank paper for all your business accounts and because the unused check paper has no information on it, you don't have to lock it up when it's not being used.
3) Find software that allows you to build users without giving them full administration rights and includes an audit log for those users. This allows you to manage and monitor all the activity that goes inside the software.
There are a few other things that are nice to have such as signature backgrounds, but they're not necessary in today's market.
If you need help in finding something that fits your needs feel free to reach out to anyone on our team here at Advantage Business Equipment.
Finally, keep in mind, the only way to protect 100% against check fraud is to take advantage of the Positive Pay Program from your bank.
We get many questions about charge backs and
what the rights are for a business in the Credit Card charge process.
Unfortunately for business owners, the Credit
Card processor is only a middleman in the movement of funds from a consumer’s
bank and a business account.
If a consumer reports a charge as
"Fraud", they are automatically protected against any damage by the
FTC and Federal Law. Certain processors like PayPal and Chase Merchant Services
are better at educating new businesses about their rights in the event of
fraud, but they still have to abide by the Consumer Protection Act. When a
fraud notice is posted, they will withdraw the funds from the business and post
them back to the consumer’s card.
Even with proof of delivery and solid evidence
of the purchase, consumer fraud is protected under this federal law. Business
owners need to understand they are ultimately responsible for verifying all
charges are not fraudulent and if they are, they are obligated to pay back the
consumer. There is NO law to protect the business and there is no type of
insurance for this kind of damage. Education is limited on how the flow of
funds work so make sure your business takes advantage of everything your bank and
CC processor offer to reduce fraud charges.
We tell our clients “The money has to come from
somewhere and guess where that is…The business owner”.
Business owners do have the recourse to take a
consumer to court or small claims court if they feel the charge is valid but
remember, the consumer has the protection of Federal Law. Some consumers have
been known to abuse the system but it is very uncommon.
Our fraud protection system does more good than
harm but understand as a business owner, whenever you take a Credit Card for
payment, you are liable for a charge back for up to 6 months. Here are simple
steps to protect your company.
1.Use all verification
systems offered by your Credit Card processor. At a minimum use Address Match,
CCV verification, and match shipping address to billing address. It any of
these don’t match, hold the order.
2.Call to verify all
“suspicious” orders. Usually fraud attempts use a temporary phone number and
will not answer if called. Listen for strange messages or ask them to verify
all the shipping details if someone answers. NEVER read them their name and
shipping address, ask them to verify the order and details to you. You will see
they can’t. Criminals use so many names and addresses they can’t keep track of
all the charges.
3.Google map the order.
Many criminals will have you ship to a freight forwarder where they will ship
the good overseas. Others use a vacant lot and will meet the shipping truck for
delivery. If the address looks suspicious, don’t ship.
4.Google the Name in the
order or the company. Also type in the email extension to see if it’s a real
website. We often see fraud attempts use domain emails are used like these real
examples. email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Once we entered the Domain part of the email into a browser, it came back as
not a valid domain or 404 error. After a quick call, it was confirmed it was
5.If fraud is suspected,
immediately reverse the order and DO NOT charge the customer.
Good luck and remember to use other systems
like Positive Pay to
protect against check fraud as well.
Five things every
accounting department needs to implement to protect the check payment and
We put together our list of the top systems we see the most
successful businesses and accounting departments using to process check
payments. For large businesses with
established AP departments they probably already have great systems in place.
The problem we see is with the new and fast-growing startups. They haven’t had time to establish systems
yet so they are vulnerable to potential theft.
These businesses should start early and make sure they build a secure payment
process inside their growing accounting departments to avoid any check fraud
Benefits Of Outsourcing The Business Check Payment Process
From expanding marketing efforts to managing employees, business owners have more than enough work to fill each day. Most business owners and their workers spend too much time on administrative tasks. With today's technologies, a considerable amount of these tasks can be automated or outsourced to save money.
What to know about MICR routing and account numbers on your business checks.
Your company name and business address are not a required piece of information for the Federal Reserve to process a check. The most important data is the row of numbers on the bottom of the check known as the MICR line. Those numbers are the check routing and checking account numbers and they have to printed in a special MICR ink.