Printech Stays on Top of Standardization of Checks in Panama

As the Superintendency of Banks Organization is working on regulatory changes for banks, they have new requirements for the check paper, designs and security features. Printech makes changes to its check stock to be in compliance with Panama rules.

The Superintendency of Banks Organization is working on regulatory changes for banks to reduce the time it takes to clear a check from three days to just one.

The proposed rules are stated in the Agreement 1-2014, issued in March 2014. The goal is to improve the safety and modernize payments in the country, punctually, standardizing checks in Panama.

The proposal involves printers that produce the checks. It states that “only two formats can be used for printing personal checks and one format for commercial checks and these will be provided with a special watermark to ensure their security. ” reports that “with this method, physical checks will disappear as soon as they are accepted by banks and will be converted into a digital image. This way conversion into cash will be reduced to one day). It is expected that the system will be fully standardized in 2016.”

Banks that outsource check-printing services must ensure that the contracted printing company meets the standards established herein. Printech Global Secure Payment Solutions offers paper and check printing software that is in compliance with the country regulations. That covers the following details:

Check Size
Checks in Panama must be rectangular. Standardized check sizes for personal and commercial checks are:

Two (2) sizes for personal checks:

Standard personal check: width 152.4 mm (6”) and height 69.85 mm (2¾”).

Extended personal check: 74 mm (7 5/16”) and height 69.85 mm (2¾”).

One (1) size for commercial checks and cashier’s checks: width 74 mm (7 5/16”) and height 92.96 mm (3 2/3”).

The union of the check body and stub should be perforated.

Paper manufacturing features describe weight, thickness, fiber direction, humidity, tear strength, softness or roughness. Paper security features for checks in Panama include invisible fluorescent optical threads, visible colored threads, reaction of the paper pulp to hypochlorite, polar (alcohols, acetones, etc.) and non-polar (petroleum) substances.

The paper must have a protective surface treatment that resists scraping and erasures and leaves signs of any attempt at alteration on the paper itself. Products such as Toner Grip, Laser Lock and Secure Laser can be used to protect laser-printed variable.

There are minimum printing security features for checks in Panama.

Security background printing in invisible fluorescent ink over the entire check, verifiable with an ultraviolet.

Security watermark printed in fugitive ink. It must be a pastel or soft tone that will allow conversion to a binary image but that will not impede reading the check’s content. This background must react to mechanical erasures by detaching itself from the paper, permitting detection of the alteration.

Red penetrating magnetic ink for printing the MICR line (indispensable feature for commercial checks).

Penetrating ink for printing Arabic numbers for check numbering (indispensable feature for commercial checks).

Companies can use security inks on checks:

Fugitive, water-soluble or bleeding inks. Inks that bleed, run, disappear or are diluted by attempts at erasure by friction must be used to print check.

Fluorescent inks. Inks visible and/or invisible to natural light but emitting ultraviolet radiation when exposed to this type of light (i.e., changing color or becoming visible when submitted to ultraviolet light).

They must be used to print in areas at risk for alterations (amount, signature, beneficiary, and amount in letters and numbers), and, consequently, must be sensitive to mechanical erasure.

Ink for numbering. It will be used principally for printing check numbers. It must hinder tampering by erasure or overwriting. It must be penetrating or protected by fixers, anchors or special characters.

Check scanning features

Checks must comply with the ANSI X9.7 Standard recommendations that describe the requirements for the background and the location of the numerical amount field, to ensure that the process of capture and conversion to a binary image picks up only the document’s essential information.