Financial industry warned of continuing fraud

More than 50 delegates from the UK’s leading banks and other financial organisations have been told that mandating fraud measures such as UCN Plus• would help stay one step ahead of fraudsters. That was one of the many warnings shared at The 7th Annual Conference for Cheque Imaging & Remote Deposit Capture, held last week in Central London.

The event was hosted by The TALL Group of Companies, the UK leader in the provision of secure paper and electronic payment solutions, in conjunction with Digital Check Corporation, a worldwide leader in the manufacture of cheque scanners.

The event hosted at the RSA was the first TALL conference to be ‘live’ streamed and brought together delegates from across the financial sector in the purpose-built auditorium.

The annual seminar is designed to help financial institutions, the banking community, building societies and major cheque users, understand the realities of image capture – following the full roll-out of the new Image Clearing System (ICS).

Julie Grout from Pay.UK kicked off proceedings with an update on Cheque Usage and The Image Clearing System. Successful fraud volume has decreased to the lowest seen since October 2017 when the new ICS launched.  But warned counterfeits are still dominating, closely followed by forgeries.

The audience heard from experts at DXC (NatWest Group’s cheque clearing hub) where they also agreed the biggest challenge to the ICS was forgeries.  To combat this the introduction of Image Survivable Features (ISF’s) such as symbols, letters, numbers or QR codes printed onto cheques has reduced fraud by 80%.

Sean Dore from HSBC UK shared his perspective on cheque experience during and post pandemic.  He explained that cheques still represent a sustainable body of payments yet fraud remains the number one challenge.

Finally, delegates heard from Martin Ruda, Managing Director of the TALL Group of Companies.  Although as a result of the pandemic, the use of cheques has momentarily declined, there are still some payments when a cheque is possibly the right and only choice.

  • When payee name and address is the only information available
  • When the payer is obliged to make a small payment and the payee is left to decide whether to bank the sum
  • When a written record of the transaction is required to be appended to the payment

Martin explained, “In order to manage the decline of the cheque there needs to be a standardised, homogenised and bolted together solution. It will reduce the risk of the gap between issuance and clearance which is the gap that fraudsters occupy.”

He went on, “Fraudsters have specifically targeted the weak spots of ICS, however with the lowest fraud figures since 2017, the industry is doing a good job.   The industry must strive to stay one step ahead of the fraudsters by reinforcing existing anti-fraud features, by investing in the innovative ISF tools such as the TALL Group’s UCN Plus®, and by working more closely together.”