Converting ICL files to Universal Companion Document (UCD) files

If you send Image Cash Letter files to the major check image exchanges; Federal Reserve Board (FRB), SVPCO, FIS Endpoint Exchange or Viewpointe then this article will give you helpful information about converting your current X9.37 files to UCD 187 compliant files.

September 27, 2010, was the transition data set by the FRB for the adoption of  UCD 187 as the exchange format for ICL files going to and from the the Fed.

Currently, all of the major exchanges are using X9.37 DSTU 2003 as the standard for check image exchange. Because this broad standard has many optional implementations, each exchange originally published an individual "companion document" that described its unique requirements.

For over two years, the check image exchanges have been working to create a "Universal Companion Document" (UCD) that would combine all of the individual documents into one.

At the same time, the X9 standards group has published a flexible new standard for the basis of exchange titled X9.100-187 2008 (187) which supersedes X9.37 DSTU 2003 (937).

The result has been a “Universal Companion Document” that contains the requirements for 187 compliance for all of the exchanges, but it’s helpful to understand that the requirements still aren’t completely “universal.”  The exchanges have retained a few of their individual validation rules, which the UCD 187 incorporates into a table of unique requirements.

When sending ICLs to the major exchanges, you will need to be in compliance with UCD 187, and the compliance requirements will vary slightly depending on the exchange.

Testing for Compliance

What needs to be changed with a current 937 files?

Using the All My Papers X9 VIEWER you can pre-test your current ICL X9.37 files for compliance to the full UCD 187 or to any of the exchange-specific unique requirements. The X9 VIEWER’s “Open As" option lets you select the exchange sub-format for compliance testing as shown below:

Why do you need to test for a specific exchange?

Your files that currently conform for a specific exchange may not conform to the general UCD 187 or to another specific exchange.  As an example, the Cash Letter ID in the header of an ICL file is not validated by all exchanges, such as the FRB. For those that do validate it, each ID in a given file must be unique. If your file is not pre-tested against the requirements of a specific exchange, many error conditions may be presented that are not truly errors. By learning which elements of your files will be considered errors, you will have an opportunity to edit them so they will be accepted by the exchange.

Converting X9.37 Files to UCD 187 Files Automatically

AMP has software tools to automatically generate UCD 187 ICL files from current X9.37 exchange ready files. The software can be either used either interactively as an application, or automatically in a “lights out” process.

The All My Papers X9 LIB software tool kit will take a file that is currently exchange-ready and produce a UCD 187 compliant file for the same exchange. For current customers of the X9 LIB SDK, this simply means the function call Read937Write937 can be used to convert an existing 937 file to a  UCD 187 compliant file.  In addition, a command line call for X9 QUALIFIER allows access to the functions for batch file and Java level coding for file conversion.

In the X9 QUALIFIER application, files can be converted under interactive operator control, and the optionally licensed X9 VIEWER/ANALYZER application can be called directly from X9 QUALIFIER to see if they are any remaining compliance issues.

Current AMP Customer Licenses and Upgrades

Free Maintenance Updates For X9 QUALIFIER

All versions of X9 QUALIFIER will support the conversion to UCD 187 as a maintenance upgrade. For All My Papers customers who have purchased the X9 QUALIFIER application or SDK and who are current with maintenance, the conversion tool will be part of the free upgrade. Customers should check with to see if they qualify for the maintenance upgrade. To receive the upgrade, customers must download the latest version of X9 QUALIFIER or X9 QUALIFIER SDK software.

X9 QUALIFIER also has a dashboard interface that lets the user convert files and then immediately call the X9 VIEWER/ANALYZER to test and view compliance. This requires the user to have a properly licensed X9 VIEWER/ANALYZER application installed.


The X9 VIEWER application already supports both the X9.100-187 specification as well as the X9.37 DSTU.


The IRD PRINT SDK supports all of the Return Codes specified in both the X9.100-187 and X9.37 DSTU standards.


X9 LIB fully supports conversion between X9.37 and UCD 187 files.

Remote Deposit Capture Files

UCD is for files sent to the exchanges listed above; however, ICL files sent to financial institutions as part of their Remote Deposit programs will probably be unaffected. Many financial institutions have their own Remote Deposit Companion documents for their customers, so conformance to UCD standards and specifications is not a consideration. The particular companion document for the institution will dictate and detail its unique requirements. Users should check with their financial institution and confirm if there are any new versions of the companion document that will require changes to the ICL files sent to them.

ICL Files

ICL files have two different data components:

  • Check images
  • Textual data

UCD and X9.100-187 are primarily concerned with the textual data in the records and fields of the ICL file.  How the texts and numbers are formatted and which records and fields are populated and verified is the concern for financial institutions sending ICL files to be exchanged in the check image clearing process.

The X9 VIEWER may be used as a tool for testing compliance to the syntactical (rules) and semantic requirements of the standard.

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