October 30, 2020

‘Where do we go from here?’

With news that the UK could face another six months of lock down, business leaders around the country will be understandably concerned as to how they can continue to keep costs to a minimum with potential falling revenues and business activity. Even those businesses that have made their premises ‘COVID-19’ safe will now be unsure about the numbers of staff who will be present on site with the new Government advice to ‘work from home where you can’.

Yet the economy continues, and businesses still have to perform day-to-day tasks. The pandemic has seen a tremendous surge in the use of digital technology whether for conference calling, e-commerce or business processing. Simple tasks like going to the bank to make payments or deposits have been replaced with electronic payments and digital banking. How many of us will return to the bank branch networks in the future will be hard to predict? The idea of visiting a branch, or using an ATM, will be too much to handle for some customers. As we become more used to using the emerging technology, contactless payments, on line shopping and remote cheque deposits have become second nature.

The ‘good old dependable cheque’ still has a place in our lives though. Whilst we may not be writing so many cheques and posting them to recipients, or getting in our car and driving to the bank, queuing to pay in cheques received. and then having our paper cheque scanned into the cheque image clearing system, we still need to make payments. The cheque has its use, and for many, is the familiar face of making a charitable donation, paying for a local service or sending ‘birthday wishes’ to young relatives. For businesses, the cheque is about managing cash flow, maintaining a corporate image and a part of an easily and tangibly reconcilable business transaction such as refunds, dividends and bonuses.

The use of remote deposit capture to process incoming cheques into a business has been the preserve of large businesses or those that process large numbers of cheques on a daily basis. Cheque imaging is still in its infancy in retail banking but, driven on by ‘lock-down’, bank customers are slowly realising the potential of using this digital technology to prevent unnecessary contact with the ‘outside’ world.

Certain high street banks have been slow to roll out this digital capability. Whether to protect branch networks, reacting to market forces, or simply hoping that the humble cheque will slowly disappear, the march towards the introduction of cheque imaging has not matched the uptake of other digital technology particularly during the pandemic.

For businesses looking to continue with their ‘love’ of the cheque, help is at hand. Secure accredited cheque printer, Checkprint, a member of the TALL Group of Companies, can provide products and services to both receive and issue cheque payments. Checkprint’s award winning Banking Assistant is a cheque and cash deposit management system that supports customers receiving cheque payments, (and wishing to deposit cheques remotely, depending on the individual bank or building society). It combines a desktop cheque scanner to capture the image and details from the cheques with comprehensive software that then uses this data to create and balance your batch of receipts for banking together with generating a searchable archive of cheque data and images from the cheque scanner. By using Banking Assistant, companies can save both time and effort in recording cheque receipts, avoiding lengthy trips to the bank, and allowing electronic deposits to be made to corporate accounts remotely.

Checkprint has worked with banks for more than 25 years to provide their customers with innovative banking products. During the current COVID-19 restrictions, Checkprint has identified with the pain many organisations have endured as staff are working from home, furloughed or absent from the workplace. The Send-A-Cheque™ Business Cheque Service provides a secure outsourcing option for the production of Business Cheque requirements, including the addition of bank’s recommended Image Survivable Features (ISF’s), features designed to help prevent cheque fraud.

The Send-A-Cheque™ service can be easily accessed on a regular basis, for normal, contingency, disaster recovery or any ad-hoc situations, such as ‘lock-down’, that present themselves.

Send-A-Cheque™ allows customers to source securely printed infilled and signed business cheques without having to purchase and administer their own cheque printing software. In addition, Checkprint can save time and cost, with no capital investment in cheque infilling equipment, where relatively low volumes of cheques are required. Checkprint’s customers will have the peace of mind knowing that their business cheques will be managed and printed by an experienced team, on time, securely and trouble free.

Checkprint acknowledge the slow decline in use of the cheque but are offering corporate customers the opportunity to maintain cheques as part of their accounting routines. Even relatively low numbers of cheques (from one to several hundred), either received or to be sent, can be processed using Checkprint’s products and services. Under the new restrictions imposed recently and threatened to last for a further six months, is it not time to look at alternatives that can save both time and money, vital to organisations at the moment.