New Software Utilizing Check Images Adds Extra Layer of Protection Against Tampering with Checks

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The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., now offers commercial customers an enhanced Positive Pay service in an effort to combat check fraud costs.

In an effort to help combat the estimated $12 billion a year that check fraud costs the U.S. market, The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., now offers commercial customers an enhanced Positive Pay service. Payee Positive Pay permits the bank to compare the payee information on checks presented against a customer’s account with the payee information in the customer’s issue file. Images of any checks flagged as exception items may be reviewed online by the customer via PNC’s secure website with instructions to pay or withhold payment communicated online back to the bank.

“Despite the increasing popularity of electronic payments, nearly 60 percent of all business-to-business payments today are made via a paper check, making it more imperative than ever for financial institutions to ensure security,” said Eithne O’Malley, vice president and senior product manager with PNC’s treasury management group. “Our new Payee Positive Pay service protects customers from the ongoing threat of check fraud and, even more specifically, the rising tampering efforts with the payee line of the check.”

In addition to traditional Positive Pay services, PNC utilizes software from FiServ ImageSoft to automatically match payee information read from corporate check images against issue files provided by the customers. The payee-line interrogation, in addition to the traditional check number and dollar amount verification, allows PNC to review these fields on the checks presented against the customer’s account. The system’s digital interrogation technology can read a wide variety of font styles and sizes, so PNC has produced a Payee Check Printing Guidelines document to help its Payee Positive Pay clients recognize how changes to their current check formats and templates could improve the readability of their check images.

Several PNC clients are already finding great success with the automated Payee Positive Pay process.

“We selected PNC’s Positive Pay service for its integrated capabilities that allow us to quickly, easily and cost-effectively guard our company from any potential fraudulent check writing,” said Barry Pakenham, assistant treasurer for Allegheny Energy, Inc., an investor-owned utility with operations in four states. The company has been utilizing the automated Payee Positive Pay for approximately a month with exceptional results. “It is an extra layer of security that gives Allegheny Energy complete trust in PNC and its treasury management services.”

“With the high volume of checks we issue, Boscov’s could potentially be a target for numerous fraudulent claims,” said Greta Dolinski, assistant controller for Boscov’s, the Reading, Pa.-based department store with 41 locations across six states. “With PNC’s electronic product, we are reassured that Boscov’s is implementing the utmost security when it comes to check processing.”

Carolyn Jones, treasurer of Hilb Rogal & Hobbs, concurs, noting that as the eighth-largest insurance brokerage firm in the United States, check security is of vital importance to her company. “You can’t put a dollar value on the significance of fraud protection, particularly for our clients and their businesses.”

Payee positive pay is offered less frequently by banks and used by only approximately one-third of organizations, according to a survey by the Association of Financial Professionals (April 2006).

“While industry studies note that the use of paper checks continues to decline, PNC encourages all business customers to protect their payment systems by implementing additional internal controls and adding on supplemental check fraud protection services like payee positive pay,” said PNC’s O’Malley.

Fiserve Imagesoft is a unit of Fiserv, Inc, (Nasdaq: FISV), that provides information management systems and services, including transaction processing, outsourcing and software and systems solutions, to the financial services industry since 1989

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC), one of the nation’s largest diversified financial services organizations, providing consumer and business banking; specialized services for corporations and government entities including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management; asset management and global fund services.


The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.

Amy Vargo

(412) 762-1535

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