The wave that is moving in banking these days is to add check capture at the teller window. Some have expressed concern that capturing check images at the teller window will slow down the teller transaction process; however, when done right, that is not the case.
The positive aspect of teller capture is the efficiencies and cost savings that are realized in the process. Capturing at the teller window can significantly reduce a bank’s proof operation as checks are literally balanced and proofed at the time of acceptance allowing tellers to remain in balance throughout the workday. Banks will not only be able to truncate the paper check sooner in the process, but they will also be able to reduce or eliminate paper tickets at the teller window using virtual tickets, saving the cost of producing and processing that paper.
Teller capture can also reduce the number of errors as MICR lines are read both magnetically and optically, reducing the need for keying of those numbers. In addition, banks will have the ability to flag fraudulent items much sooner in the workflow process.
To build efficiencies into the teller capture process, there are a number of best practices that banks should keep in mind. Over the next couple of issues, Digital Communications will focus on a different practice to improve your operations and reduce your cost of operation of your teller capture environment.
Today’s best practice recommendation focuses on document preparation. We’ve all heard of the phrase “garbage in, garbage out” and it is a good way to think about how documents are fed into the check scanner. If you don’t prepare the documents correctly, then you will get poor results out of the scanner.
What is involved with document preparation? We must remember that tellers will generally be handling larger batches of checks than the average remote deposit capture customer. Tellers deal with merchants that can bring in five checks or 200 checks. The checks can be standard sized personal checks or business checks of varying sizes and paper qualities. The checks may be folded, torn, and sometimes mangled, but they are all expected to feed through the check scanner flawlessly.
We like to say that our check scanners perform “magic,” and although they do perform phenomenally, they won’t literally perform magic – so we recommend taking time to prep the documents before feeding them into the scanner. First, inspect the checks to make sure that all staples, paper clips, or any other foreign objects are removed. Second, take time to straighten any folds, bends or tears to avoid them getting caught within the scanner or creating any kind of skewing against the MICR head or with the image sensors. Digital Check scanners come equipped with advanced sensors that have a greater focal length than those on most scanners; however, it is always best to smooth the documents before feeding.
Third, when possible, sort the documents with personal checks to be fed first with business checks behind. It is always difficult to jog (align the leading and bottom edges of the documents before feeding) the checks when the batch is interleaved with both business and personal checks. The personal checks are likely not to be properly jogged unless using a mechanical jogger. Which brings up the next point of preparation; jogging the checks is critical to proper feeding and avoiding jams. Most jams are caused by improperly jogged items where the checks are not flush to the leading edge or remain skewed within the batch.
By following these simple steps in preparing the documents before feeding, the teller experience will be much more efficient and effective. For more information about Digital Check scanners, fill out our web contact form, or call (847) 446-2285.