I know this is somewhat offtopic, but I'm really not sure where else to ask:

I've got an idea for (mildly) improving check security. Something similar has been done in the past, but that was decades ago and I know mechanical, printing, and usage rules for checks have been tightened in some ways since then; my idea may still be workable or it may not. I don't think it would be any more problematic than folding the check, but I'd really like to review the official definition of what is and isn't an acceptable check by policy before I start empirically testing whether the banking system will accept this idea in practice.

So: Where can I find a description of just how much a check can be "folded, spindled, or mutilated" before a bank should be expected to reject it?


Just in case anyone is wondering what the idea was... "Check writing machines" used to be common in businesses, which used various mechanisms to discourage alteration of the check. Some used a multicolored ribbon, some perforated the check in a pattern that told folks it was supposed to be a machine-printed check, and some embossed the printing. There was a home version which basically embossed a pattern over the value, with the idea that trying to rewrite the check would crush part of the pattern flat and provide evidence of tampering. I was wondering whether embossed checks would still be accepted, and what the limits would be.

  • Related: The design requirements for the back of a check
    – Ben Miller
    Apr 18, 2023 at 22:35
  • 2
    Why try to make more secure a means of payment which is inherently insecure and cannot be made secure? Also you should specify the country.
    – jcaron
    Apr 19, 2023 at 0:22
  • 1
    US. And as anyone in the security industries -- or any engineer -- will tell you, perfection isn't necessary and improvement can still have value. If you aren't feeling interested; that's fine; de gustibus... But don't stand in the way or you're likely to get run over.
    – keshlam
    Apr 19, 2023 at 0:42

1 Answer 1


In the US, the body responsible would be the Accredited Standards Committee X9, specifically the X9B Financial Services Operations Subcommittee.

The standards they develop become ANSI ASC X9 series standards. Some relevant overviews would be ASC X9 TR 2-2019 Understanding, Designing, And Producing Checks, and ASC X9 TR 8-2016 Check Security.

Keep in mind that today, a check is immediately scanned to a relatively low-resolution black and white image as the first step in a deposit. Security features would have to be visible in the image file, these are called image survivable features. Sizes and things like contrast are dictated in ANSI X9.100-110-2015 Document Imaging Compatibility.


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