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check security

  • Kentucky Derby Hats and Check Printing Features

    Tomorrow marks the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby.  The race is an iconic event in American culture.  While the three events comprising the Triple Crown define the sport of horse racing, to the general public, the Kentucky Derby stands as the Super Bowl of the sport.  Yet, given the horse race itself only lasts about two minutes, it is much more the history and pomp and circumstance of the event which provides its fame.  And there may be nothing more pompous than the famous hats that fill Churchill Downs the first Saturday of every May.

    It is these hats that have come to define or at least symbolize the Kentucky Derby.  As they add color to the horse racing event, we wondered what adds color to check printing software.  What are the “hats” of these QuickBooks add-ons?  In other words, what are the important features surrounding check printing?

    Security

    Check and accounting security is the most important issue surrounding payments.  Protecting your sensitive information, including financial figures and bank account information, is paramount in any software you use.  Features like data encryption and login protection, are essential.  Being able to control user rights enables businesses to efficiently utilize their workforces without jeopardizing security.

    Positive Pay

    Positive Pay is a little known feature in the check payment world, yet it is the most secure way to process checks.  Positive Pay files contain all the information of a check run, including the check number, amount, and payee information for every check printed.  This file is then given to the bank.  In order for money to be drawn on the bank account then, any check sent to the bank must match the information on the Positive Pay file.  If it does not, then the check is rejected.  By using a check printing software that automatically creates Positive Pay files, businesses can protect themselves efficiently.

    Signatures

    All checks need to be signed.  Some businesses even use signing rules based on dollar amounts or bank accounts to determine who in the company needs to sign.  Using a check printing software that enables electronic signatures with signing rules will not only save time and headache finding the right people to sign each check, but will also maintain security through encrypted signature files.

    Email and Archive Documents

    Paperwork doesn’t end when the check is printed.  Unfortunately, this is often just the beginning (or at best the middle).  Whether it is a copy of the invoice, a purchase order, or any other information, accounting documents need to either be sent or archived.  A good check printing software will allow all documents surrounding a payment to be attached and sent or archived.  By creating PDFs of the docs, they can be sent in an email or saved on a server.  Either way, document distribution is a necessary feature to complete a check payment.

  • Security and Your Check Printing Software

    Read any sporting magazine or watch the talking heads on ESPN and you’ll hear analysts say that the focus in most sports nowadays is on offense.  It’s sexy, it’s fun, it’s better TV.  Many even question whether we are seeing the last vestiges of great defenses like Ohio State this past Monday, or the Seattle Seahawks that will take the field this Sunday.  Could the Legion of Boom be the final hurrah of defense-centric champions?

    As is common, this started to make a lot of us here at Wellspring Software consider how this relates to check stock and check printing software.  A great defense in any sport is like great security in any accounting system.  Security in your accounting operations is perhaps more important than security anywhere else in your business.  A breach of security in any of your bank accounts opens your business to all types of fraud.  Check printing security in particular carries high risk as the data involved relates directly back to your bank accounts, the life blood of your business.

    There are many security weaknesses in check printing that many businesses do not consider.  For example, many companies still use preprinted check stock.  This is the type of check stock that comes with the MICR line (your account and routing numbers at the bottom of the check) as well as your company information (address, phone number, name, etc.) and check number already printed on the face of the check.  This seemingly harmless paper carries all of your bank information.  Have one of these unused checks stolen from your office or accidently dropped in the parking lot and your entire bank account is compromised.  Use blank check stock and enjoy the most secure check stock available.

    Many even small businesses write hundreds of checks a month.  Staying on top of the printing and depositing of those checks is a weak point of any accounting operation.  For this reason, Positive Pay is the most advanced check printing security measure available.  Positive Pay is a specific file that records all checks printed in a check run along with their corresponding data, such as account number, payee info, check number, etc.  The exact info required in the file is stipulated by your bank.  At the end of each run, this file is then sent to your bank.  Any check that is then attempted to be drawn from your bank account is compared against the Positive Pay file.  If any discrepancies exist, then no money is drawn on your account.  This way, even if your bank information is stolen, no fraudulent checks can be passed because they will not appear in your Positive Pay file.

    Is this actually the end of defense in professional sports?  Doubtful.  Just as great check printing security protects the most vital parts of your business, great defenses win championships.  Don’t let the talking heads fool you and don’t compromise your business with insecure check printing.

    Learn more about check printing security here.

  • How Checks Stay Relevant in an Electronic Age

    Many of us don’t even carry wallets anymore.  Things like Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Bitcoin, and a multitude of other electronic payment innovations are aimed at removing our wallets from our pockets and putting everything on our phones.  Even some states are moving toward electronic driver’s licenses.  Soon we’ll be able to buy pants with one packet in them for our phones only.

    Yet despite this market move toward electronic everything, checks remain the standard business-to-business payment method, accounting for over 55% of B2B transactions.  How is this possible?  We discussed this a few months ago, citing the distinction between B2C payments and B2B payments.  While virtual credit cards and e-wallets have made it easier for consumers to pay with credit cards stored on their phones, this same method does not work as well for businesses that, one, are not paying a payable befoSecurity key lock with businessmanre a POS machine, and two, are not willing to accept a 5% merchant credit card fee.  If someone owes me $10,000, I am not going to accept a payment method that charges me $500.

    But there is another big issue facing businesses that most business owners quote when asked why they don’t pay via new electronic methods: security.  Over the many generations that checks have been the keystone in B2B payments, security has become tighter and tighter.  Whether it is security in the check stock itself through chemical detection paper, micro-printing, fluorescent fibers, and toner grip paper to name a few, or check printing software enhancements like electronic signatures, encrypted bank information, or Positive Pay capabilities, check security has become a key differentiator of check payments.

    While these new B2C or even P2P payment methods provide the flexibility that consumers want, the security risks associated with larger B2B payments are still too great.  There is a reason that you can send $50 to a friend free of charge through Popmoney, but this same service won’t allow a business to send more than $5,000 a month.  It’s too risky for the banks to back those payments.  If you need to process that much in a month, which most small businesses do, then banks will say just send them a check.

    There’s a reason that checks have stayed relevant in this electronic age and it’s because they are reliable, secure, and trusted.

    Print your checks onto blank check stock with our PrintBoss 30 day free trial and save even more time and money while increasing your security.

  • Examining QuickBooks Checks and Check Security

    Last week we discussed some of the similarities and differences between Intuit checks and Wellspring Software checks.  For a quick refresher on those differences, check out this table listing them.  This week we are going to take a deeper dive into some of the features we mentioned.  As always, if you have any further questions or would like more details about Wellspring Software check stock, please email us at info@printboss.com.  You can also take a look at this PDF which outlines our many check security features.

    Toner Grip Paper:

    This technology goes by several different names.  Intuit refers to this as “Toner Adhesion.”  Whatever the name, this technology bonds laser toner to the check paper.  The vast majority of businesses have moved away from matrix printers to laser printers which simply lay toner on the paper surface.  Without toner grip paper, it is possible to lift toner off of paper with simple tools like scotch tape.  Toner grip paper actually contains a chemical that bonds the toner to the paper so that any attempt to modify the check by lifting toner will result in tearing of actual paper fibers.

    Fluorescent Fibers:

    Fluorescent fibers are embedded in the paper and glow under ultraviolet light.  This prevents counterfeiting or copying the checks as it is very difficult to duplicate this.  Checks may be authenticated in this manner.

    Artificial Watermark:

    Like the fluorescent fibers, the artificial watermark provides an extra layer of protection against duplication.  Wellspring Software checks must be held at an angle to view the mark.  Reproducing the watermark is extremely difficult for counterfeiters.

    Micro-Printing:

    The line borders on our checks are micro-printed with “Wellspring Software.”  The text is so small (it’s micro to be exactJ) that it is impossible to photocopy or scan it correctly.  Although it is difficult to read with the naked eye, with a magnifying glass the micro-printing can be read.  This allows banks, vendors, or employees to verify the authenticity of a check.

    Chemically Reactive Paper:

    The Wellspring Software Check stock is protected against all known chemicals used in “check washing.”  This is exactly what it sounds like, where household chemicals are used to remove information from a check.  Chemically reactive paper prevents this by staining the check when these chemicals are used.  This makes it evident when a check has been tampered with.

    Rainbow Prismatic Colored Stock:

    Our two-colored paper makes it difficult to photocopy accurately.  As Intuit notes on its website, prismatic backgrounds are used on many of our personal documents from car titles to passports.  So why not use it on our check stock too?

    Blank Check Stock:

    This is the one security feature that Intuit QuickBooks checks will never give you.  No matter how much technology is in your check, no amount of chemically reactive paper or micro-printing is going to prevent someone from copying the sensitive information printed on your preprinted check stock.  This information includes company name and address, account number, routing number, and even check number.  This means that your unused stock is a risk liability.  For this reason many companies are forced to hold their stock in safes or locked drawers.  But with blank check stock, unused stock is as much a security risk as your white copy paper.  When you use PrintBoss, your sensitive information is only printed on a check when you process your payables.  This not only removes the inconvenience of locking up your check stock, but also the liability if it is stolen.  For accountants holding clients’ check stocks, this is particularly helpful.  Blank checks also allow you to use one stock for all of your bank accounts.

    Check back next week when we examine the many security features the PrintBoss software itself adds to your QuickBooks accounting, like Positive Pay file creation, electronic signatures, and more.

    Or experience PrintBoss Security free for 30-days with our free trial.

  • Scaling New Heights with QuickBooks Checks Fraud Security

    We’re about a month and a half out from the Scaling New Heights 2014 conference in San Antonio.  One of the themes of this year’s conference is fraud protection and prevention.  On Tuesday of this week some of you may have participated in a webinar hosted by Joe Woodard (his company puts on the conference), called, “Reduce the Risk of Fraud for QuickBooks Users.”  Joe interviewed Frank Abagnale (yes, THE Frank Abagnale played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie, “Catch Me If You Can”) who will also be one of the keynote speakers at the conference itself.

    Frank spoke about a number of fraud related topics surrounding the QuickBooks market.  One of the topics that he stressed was check fraud.  Understandably, we were very happy he stressed this issue, because as Wellspring Software develops and sells PrintBoss, a check printing software, we are acutely aware of the check fraud that is prevalent today, but are also aware that many people are unaware.

    Frank discussed a number of things he is working on with Intuit to combat check fraud, particularly with their new high security check stock.  All of the points he made are not only salient, but important in the spread of check forgery awareness.  It is great that Intuit is taking these steps to make the check stock more secure, but at the same time, we are tempted to say (and I guess we areJ), it’s about time!  The check security technology Frank referenced and Intuit is advertising is not new technology.  Toner adhesion, invisible fluorescent fibers, micro printing, colored background, and chemically reactive paper have been around for years.  He actually mentioned how many of them have been used in currency, bond notes, and other documents for a long time.  In fact, our check stock has had all of that and more for over ten years AND it costs a fraction of the price you pay for Intuit stock.

    Check out this security feature and price comparison.

    Once again, it is important for Intuit to take steps toward offering a higher security check stock, but what they are just beginning to offer now, we have been providing customers for over a decade and for a lot less.  Furthermore, there is one security benefit of blank check stock that preprinted QuickBooks checks will never be able to equal no matter the technology: blank checks are blank.  It’s obvious, as the name implies it, but the ramifications are enormous.  No matter how much technology is in your check, preprinted checks always say your account and routing numbers on them.  Due to this, your unused Intuit stock is always a liability.  With blank check stock, the account and routing numbers are only printed on the check when you process a check run.  In other words, until you process your payables, your unused check stock is as much a security risk as the reams of white paper in your supplies closet.

    Take a look at our check stock security features and all the great colors we sell them in.  Then check back next week when we take a deeper dive into check security and many of the features listed above.

    If you are coming to the Scaling New Heights conference next month, we hope you will stop by our booth (#32) to talk about check security and the many other ways PrintBoss can save you time and money.

    As always, try PrintBoss for FREE for 30 days and experience the highest security check printing possible.

  • QuickBooks Checks: A Security Concern

    It’s a simple fact: preprinted QuickBooks checks provide greater risk to the accounts payable process than does blank check stock.  As it is, security is the paramount requirement in accounting.  Given the many facets of accounting, naturally there are many portals through which security breaches may occur.  From your network getting hacked, to employees sharing (purposefully or not) sensitive information, your company accounting information is constantly at risk.  Many of these risks are innate, they come with the territory and we take as many precautions as possible to thwart them.  So why add another security concern by using preprinted QuickBooks checks?

    How can something as simple as check stock be a security risk?  It’s easy.  Preprinted QuickBooks checks carry three important pieces of information on them: company information (name, address, etc.), account number, and account routing number.  With these three pieces of information any would be criminal could access your bank account.  In other words, if someone were to steal or find your unused preprinted check stock, they would have all they need to access your money.  Furthermore, if you have multiple bank accounts and some financial hooligan steals multiple check stocks, they can gain access to multiple bank accounts.

    So how do you solve this?  The answer is equally as simple: blank check stock.  By using blank check stock instead of preprinted QuickBooks checks, you eliminate all of these risks.  Blank checks are just what they sound like, blank.  They carry zero information on them.  There is no account or routing number, or any other company information.  All of this information is added to the check at the time when you process a check run.  Prior to this, your check stock can sit in your closet as much a security risk as the white paper in your printer.  Now, that isn’t to say that white paper and blank check stock are the same.  Good blank check stock will have built in security features like toner grip paper, micro printing, florescent fibers, chemical detection, and other security enhancements.  All of these features will protect your bank accounts after your check is printed, in case of check tampering.

    Did we mention that blank checks are 80% less expensive than preprinted QuickBooks checks?  Not only are they more secure, but they will save you money.  What’s not to like about that?

    So why add increased risk and worry to your accounting process?  Instead, replace your preprinted QuickBooks checks with blank checks and eliminate risk from your check printing process, all while saving money doing it.

    Click here to see what we’re talking about.

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