Cheque and credit standards

All accredited cheque printers must be certified to Standard 55, the Audit Standard for Cheque Printers and are required to print cheques according to Standard 3.1 – Automated Processing of Vouchers (Debits).

All bank giro credits must be printed according to Standard 3.2 – Automated Processing of Vouchers (Credits) together with Standard 3.3 – Automated Processing of Vouchers (Technical).

What is a standard?

A standard is a document that enables users to develop their products in a way that helps to achieve efficiency. Standards also enable interoperability between systems and products. Standards are developed by interested parties, e.g. users and manufacturers, and are agreed upon usually by consensus. They can either be technical or procedural and are designed to be used consistently as a rule, guideline, or definition.

Why do we have standards?

We have standards to ensure that business processes and functions are carried out in the most efficient, cost-effective, unambiguous way, for all the parties involved.

Audit Standard for Cheque Printers – Standard 55

As a condition of membership, accredited cheque printers must be certified to Audit Standard for Cheque Printers – Standard 55 by a Pay.UK approved certification body. The standard has been prepared by Pay.UK in association with the British Standards Institute (BSI).

Used in conjunction with ISO 27001, the only auditable international standard which defines the requirements for an Information Security Management System (ISMS), Audit Standard for Cheque Printers – Standard 55 addresses the three specific information security requirements for accredited cheque printers:

  • Customer data and cheque products
  • Origination work (such as digital design files / signature files)
  • Computer-based processes such as downloaded customer information, including transaction processing.

The cost and details of how to purchase the Audit Standard for Cheque Printers – Standard 55 can be found below

Standard 3.1 – Automated Processing of Vouchers (Debits)

In the UK, all cheques must be printed according to Standard 3.1 – Automated Processing of Vouchers (Debits), together with Standard 3.3 – Automated Processing of Vouchers (Technical). This is the specification set by Pay.UK for debit vouchers intended for automated processing and passing through the cheque clearing. Use of the two-part standard ensures that a cheque has the correct design, layout, information and security features to help prevent fraud and to help ensure that the cheque is processed efficiently and without errors.

Standard 3.1 – Automated Processing of Vouchers (Debits) covers the following aspects:

  • Physical characteristics of the voucher
  • Voucher design and layout regulations
  • Code line specifications
  • Completion of cheques
  • Holograms on cheques
  • Euro-denominated cheques.

Standard 3.3 – Automated Processing of Vouchers (Technical) sets out the technical details required by Pay.UK:

  • Code line character configurations
  • Magnetic printing
  • Attachments and adhesions
  • Cheque printing: current procedures for approval
  • Security features on cheques – procedures for approval
  • Cheques in data mailers – procedures for approval of suppliers.

The cost and details of how to purchase Standard 3.1 – Automated Processing of Vouchers (Debits) can be found below.

Standard 3.2 – Automated Processing of Vouchers (Credits)

In the UK, all bank giro credits must be printed according to Standard 3.2 – Automated Processing of Vouchers (Credits), together with Standard 3.3 – Automated Processing of Vouchers (Technical). This is the specification set by Pay.UK for bank giro credits and all other credit vouchers intended for automated processing and passing through the credit clearing. Use of the two-part standard ensures that a bank giro credit has the correct design, layout, and information to help ensure that the cheque is processed efficiently and without errors.

Standard 3.2 – Automated Processing of Vouchers (Credits) covers the following aspects:

  • Physical characteristics of the paper: CBS2 specification
  • Physical characteristics of the voucher
  • Voucher design and layout regulations
  • Code line specifications.

Standard 3.3 – Automated Processing of Vouchers (Technical) sets out the technical details required by Pay.UK:

  • Code line character configurations
  • Magnetic printing
  • Optical print quality: Print specifications for Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

The cost and details of how to purchase Standard 3.2 – Automated Processing of Vouchers (Credits) can be found below.