For those who thought that the checkbook had been retired, know that it is now possible to clear checks by image within one business day. In recent years, with the ease and modernization of resources such as credit cards, debit cards, and their famous “machines”, the use of checks in commerce has decreased.
However, the amount transacted is still quite high in relation to other means of payment. After all, its transactions totaled more than R$ 674 billion.
Given the volume of business that still happens with the use of checks, the Central Bank of Brazil and the Brazilian Federation of Banks (FEBRABAN) are constantly investing in improvements in the use of this resource, such as clearing checks by image.
You may not know or remember what the clearing of a check means
Explaining what a check or compensation means to the younger generation can be a challenge. But if you are connected to sectors like retail you might know what we are talking about.
A check is an order for payment on demand. The payee can either receive the check in cash directly at the branch where he or she maintains an account, or deposit it at another branch to have it cleared and credited to his or her account.
The Central Bank explains on its website that check clearing is the settling of accounts between financial institutions. It refers to checks deposited at establishments other than the drawees. Therefore, the check is one more form of payment to be accepted in our financial system. It is believed to be over in the next few years, but let’s talk about its recent evolution.
Until recently, bank branches were responsible for clearing checks. It took two or three days to convert the payment order into a balance on the current account, provided there were no problems related to authenticity or availability of balance in the issuer’s account for clearing.
The modernization of checks
As we have said, due to the importance of checks for the market, the Central Bank has sought to technologically innovate their use. Thus, there have been two developments in the clearing process for this means of payment.
Check clearing in 1 business day
The period for blocking the amount of the check cannot be longer than one business day, counting from the day after the deposit.
Check clearing happens by image
Current regulations dictate that check clearing be carried out solely by means of digital imaging and other electronic records.
To speed up clearing, the amounts represented by checks have been allowed to enter the market faster. In this way you contribute to the economy through the purchase of products and services. However, for this to be possible, the compensation process would need to be modernized. Finally, this was done and regulated a few years ago.
The image check clearing system
The implementation of image-based check clearing has decreased process time and reduced transportation costs, thus eliminating the physical exchanges that used to take place.
Digital image clearing now electronically forwards the documents, signed using a digital certificate, instead of sending the checks to the originating banks, branches, and plazas.
The operation of image check clearing basically consists of:
- The bank that receives the check captures the information from the barcode and scans the document;
- After scanning, the file is digitally signed with ICP-Brasil certificates, and sent directly to the Clearing House. It processes it and sends the result to the source bank;
- In turn, the latter reads the information and responds to the modernized check clearing system, authorizing the payment;
- This whole process happens without the check having to leave the bank where it was delivered.
Image-based check clearing brings us to the concept of document capture, which represents one of several processes used to convert a physical document into another format, usually a digital representation.
The ability to capture documents and make their information available has become increasingly important for many reasons. However, the main ones are regulatory compliance requirements, information security, and the competitive business environment.
And we cannot forget the fundamental point in this image check clearing process that consists in the use of digital certification, which validates the whole process and guarantees the reduction of cloning and theft cases, besides minimizing expenses with transportation and paper treatment.
Features and benefits of the image check clearing process
The solution for image check clearing must meet high performance requirements for processing incoming and outgoing batches and allow integration of the digital signature with centralized or branch capture systems. And therefore, it must have features and benefits such as:
- Management and Monitoring: Management of operation and transaction logs and identification of the state of each component and solution;
- Stability: Used in the largest financial institutions in the country, being responsible for the processes of generation and validation of Digital Signatures;
- Ease of integration;
- Security and Interoperability according to ICP-Brazil standards and the COMPE Manual;
- Agility with several mechanisms for optimizing the processing of Digital Signatures.
There are several advantages to modernizing the Image Check Clearing process. For financial institutions, this means cost reduction, quality and productivity gains. For consumers, the ease of the clearing process and the availability of money in reduced time, favoring even the country’s economy that starts to have money circulating in shorter terms.
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