Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New Check 21 Standards and Practices

Posted by Mark Brousseau

To prepare for the industry adoption of new Check 21 standards and practices, the Federal Reserve will be making changes to its pre-production (test) environment. These changes will not impact the production environment which processes Check 21 file deposits.

While these changes are being implemented, the Federal Reserve recommends customers delay or minimize testing between May 11 and May 18 until the changes are fully implemented and validated.

Beginning May 11, 2009, the Federal Reserve Banks’ test environment will be updated to include an expanded set of file validations on Image Cash Letter Deposits. Validation will be performed on a broader spectrum of fields and records, including TIFF image analysis. The expanded file validation will align Federal Reserve Check 21 deposit requirements with practices outlined in the Universal Companion Document (UCD) developed by the CheckImage Collaborative ( The TIFF validation will align Federal Reserve Check 21 deposit requirements with ASC X9.100-181-2007, the Specification for TIFF Image Format for Image Exchange (

With the May 11 implementation date, customers submitting test files will receive new and expanded file validation results. Test customers may notice an increase in the number of errors displayed by the File Acknowledgement Accept/Reject Notices. The validation results may require participants to make customer based parameter changes to their image or item processing software. Some may even require vendor contact or technical assistance. Any TIFF validation errors will be shared separately by Federal Reserve Bank implementation managers.

The Federal Reserve says it has been working closely with the Check 21 vendor community on this initiative. The Federal Reserve's plan is to monitor customer test results and industry adoption to ensure all participants are prepared for live implementation. All Federal Reserve customers will be provided notice of the production implementation date well in advance. Federal Reserve Bank implementation managers are available to work with customers who may need assistance in adopting the new validation practices and test changes to achieve compliance.

1 comment:

gguldens said...

The new Check Scanning Equipment being deployed for the Check 21 law has minimum requirements for image quality. To maintain compliance with the minimum standards, the scanners must be regularly maintained. The easiest way to maintain compliance is to clean the units regularly--every 1,000 checks or so. The cleaning can be as complex as a total disassemble, clean, and reassemble or it can be as simple as passing a cleaning card through the unit several times. A source for cleaning cards for all brands of check scanners is Click Here to go to source.