Most checks – more than 999 in 1,000 – go through the clearing process on the first try with minimal effort. But the few that don’t can cause problems far out of proportion with their overall numbers. In a 2014 study of several major U.S. banks, we found that having just 0.03% of items rejected due to image errors could generate expenses almost equal to the cost of clearing the other 99.97% of checks combined. The financial institutions we spoke with indicated that the average cost of such errors was $20-$30 per item.

Many of these “critical errors” result from poor-quality images caused by problems with the original paper document. Faint writing, colorful backgrounds, and out-of-spec printing can make it difficult for a camera to capture a readable picture of a check or money order. When that unreadable item reaches its destination, it’s rejected as a non-conforming image (NCI), incurring fees, wasting time, and requiring extraordinary effort to research and repair. Nationwide, these critical errors cost banks and credit unions millions of wasted employee-hours and hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

Digital Check has developed an array of software tools to address image quality problems both before and after they make it into your processing queue. Our Best-Read® API compares multiple images of the same check and selects the best one based on contrast settings and light levels. Special Document Handling™ catches known problem document types that come up often, such as money orders and WIC checks, and makes pre-programmed adjustments to get a readable image before it enters the processing queue.

And while many problem documents follow predictable patterns, Clear by Digital Check® covers the final mile in image enhancement, allowing an operator to manually clean up individual areas of a specific check image with a simple click-and-drag interface. So even when dealing with a one-off issue like a check that’s dirty, worn or faintly printed – or a document with an odd background that you haven’t seen before – there’s a way to repair the image before it turns into a rejection, a write-off, or even a prohibitively expensive paper clearing item.

To learn more about how Clear works, visit our product page or contact us for more information.