Challenging Assumptions about Remote Deposit Capture

Remote Deposit Capture (RDC) has been in use by banks and other financial institutions for some time. What is relatively new for RDC is the capture of checks from camera based devices without hardware magnetic MICR readers. These Remote Deposit Camera Capture (or RDCC) devices such as cell phone cameras, flatbed scanners and portable scanners are challenging many traditional assumptions about Remote Deposit Capture:

Assumption 1 – Reading the MICR Line is Easy

The capture of check images is now in the hands of small businesses and consumers, and they are using devices without magnetically-read MICR data. RDCC capture devices cannot be counted on to seamlessly work in place of traditional RDC devices and to accurately read the MICR line. Failure to accurately and successfully read the MICR line from check images results in slower clearing due to return processing and increases exception and return processing expenses. Therefore, accurate MICR OCR software is essential.

Assumption 2 – Image Processing for RDCC is Easy

With the move to RDCC, the quality of the check image cannot be assured. A significant amount of image processing before and after the MICR OCR process is required to create exchange-ready TIFF check images. In addition, each type of check capture device produces images with different characteristic flaws that require different processing strategies. These strategies must be fine-tuned with real-world data.

Assumption 3 – There is No Need for Duplicate Detection

When submitted to a bank, a paper check is easily removed from circulation. However a check scanned by an RDCC device might not be taken out of circulation after conversion to a check image. The same paper check can be accidentally or intentionally submitted for deposit multiple times. Therefore, a robust duplicate detection mechanism for checks received from all customer channels is needed for fraud prevention and cost containment.

Assumption 4 – There is Only One Cash Image Letter Format

The exchange networks such as the Federal Reserve Bank, SVPCO and others have worked to restrict the number of Image Cash Letter formats. This effort is formalized in X9.100-187 and agreed to by the exchanges in the Universal Companion Document (UCD). However, the remote capture deposit ICL formats for different institutions are often proprietary to a particular financial institution. Any RDCC solution adopted must be able to create the formats required by the destination point of the ICL.

Assumption 5 – RDCC Produces a Positive Customer Experience

If the customer has to take repeated pictures of the check, or has to wait too long for a response, or if the deposit requires correction, the experience is lessened. All of these are new to the RDCC environment.

Assumption 6 – Comparing OCR Software Vendors is Easy

In evaluating MICR OCR software engines it is important to measure the substitution rates (such as reading a “9” as a “3”). Many MICR OCR software products might seem to give a high success rate when capturing a MICR line but potentially they are misrecognizing many characters that can lead to downstream rejections and returns.

Conclusions

Camera capture is not new. Every check scanner, flatbed scanner or portable scanner has a camera.  What is new is the number of institutions using camera capture devices in their daily check flow. There are a limited number of vendors with long term experience in camera capture. All My Papers is among the most experienced of these vendors.

All My Papers

All My Papers (AMP) provides core server technology for the processing of check images to Remote Deposit Capture vendors and to the internal development teams of financial institutions and has done so since 2000. All My Papers does NOT capture images or control the capture of images from scanners or cameras. It is a member of X9, ECCHO and the UCD council of the Check Image Collaborative. A notable deployment is the largest and oldest home capture financial institution that has used AMP’s MICR OCR, image processing and ICL file creation technologies in daily production since 2006. These technologies are core components of its home capture solutions.

To learn more about this topic, download AMP’s white paper Check Deposits without check Scanners.