While the number of checks used to pay for personal or business expenses continues to go down every year, paper checks are still the most popular method of payment for business transactions in the United States.
Unfortunately, check fraud is also the most popular way for criminals to steal money from a deposit account. It accounts for more loss than any other type of payment method for a variety of reasons, including:
- Checks are accessible in unsecured mailboxes and at multiple points during handling.
- Check fraud is relatively low tech. It is not overly difficult to change information on a paper check or to create a counterfeit check.
- There is a lot of important account information on every check.
- Business accounts have a much shorter window of time to alert the bank of possible fraud than consumer accounts.
Fortunately, State Bank of Cross Plains has three relatively easy solutions to greatly reduce the opportunity for check fraud from your business deposit account.
Better yet, these fraud mitigation techniques can also improve your efficiency and reduce costs. It’s a win-win-win!
Three Ways to Reduce Your Risk
The Treasury Management team at State Bank of Cross Plains can help your business set up systems to avoid becoming a victim of check fraud. Here are three somewhat simple opportunities to reduce your risk:
- Use ACH payments. The ACH Network has a variety of security protocols that make it a safe way to send and receive funds. This process greatly reduces accessibility to your payment information since it is handled electronically. In addition, ACH is less expensive because you are not paying for paper checks, envelopes, or postage. ACH can also be more efficient by avoiding delays due to postal delivery and can in turn help you speed up collections, improve cash flow, and allow you to take advantage of trade discounts.
- Take advantage of fraud mitigation technology. State Bank of Cross Plains offers business customers a variety of tools that enable you to verify every payment leaving your account. For example, Positive Pay gives a business accountholder the ability to upload a list of authorized, issued checks to our secure website. We compare that list with all checks presented on the account and flag any discrepancies for review. If the payee name, amount, or check number does not match the list provided, we notify the customer and allow them to view actual images of the check online to determine whether to continue with payment. Positive Pay even uses optical character recognition software to read the payee line on checks you issue to guard against check alterations.
- Review your account every business day. State Bank of Cross Plains’ business clients have access to transaction data in real time, so you can identify problems immediately.
Positive Pay, ACH payments, and vigilant monitoring of business accounts have saved SBCP customers thousands of dollars in check losses every year. For more information about SBCP Treasury Management services or to schedule a meeting to discuss these options, please contact me at (608) 826-3516.