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At Cheques Plus we carry only 100% CPA 006 Compliant cheques, Canadian cheque guidelines - (Source: cdnpay.ca) In January 2005, the Canadian Payments Association (CPA) introduced new specifications for cheques in order to deliver increased efficiency and speed in the Canadian clearing system. The specifications published in Standard 006 in January 2005 are designed to ensure that high-quality images can be captured from the cheques for a range of purposes, including delivery to customers and financial institutions' internal use, as well as enabling other processing improvements not directly related to imaging. Changes to cheque specifications in Standard 006, Part A include:
- Adoption of a numeric date field in one of three specified formats (YYYYMMDD, MMDDYYYY or DDMMYYYY). It is essential that field indicators be printed below the date field to indicate which format is being used. Bilingual date field indicators are accommodated for cheques using the international date format (YYYYMMDD).
- A mandatory serial number in the MICR line encoded at the bottom of the cheque (the serial number was previously an optional field in the MICR line).
- An increase in the minimum length of cheques to 6 ¼”, or 15.88 cm, from 6”, to ensure there is sufficient space for the mandatory serial number in the MICR line.
- Specified positions for key fields on the cheque, including the date field and the amount in figures.
- Disallowance of elements that may hinder the capture of images or data from the cheque. For example, inverse printing, italics or slanted fonts, a bottom border printed below the MICR line, and the use of black carbon on the reverse of cheques will not be permitted.
- A provision to ensure that security features do not interfere with key data, or “areas of interest”, as defined in Standard 006, Part A, either prior to imaging or post imaging. In particular, if a VOID pantograph or other hidden pantograph is used, the pantograph must not be visible on images captured from original cheques.
- New printing requirements on the reverse of the cheque so that image capture can be verified.
- Some revisions to technical specifications (e.g. Print Contrast Signal) to ensure high-quality images can be captured. For example, some complex or colourful backgrounds that have been used on cheques to date may interfere with image quality and may need to be changed.