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Important changes to cheques.
We’re ready, are you?

The Canadian Payments Association (CPA) has announced new specifications to which all cheques must conform by June 30, 2007. This industry-wide project is aimed at modernizing the Canadian national clearing system, allowing financial institutions to capture images of cheques so they can be cleared electronically.

Apart from a slightly larger size and some standardization in place of some key fields, you won't see dramatic changes in how your cheques look. The new standard will make key elements of cheques more "image-friendly," allowing financial institutions to exchange images of cheques in place of the paper original for payment.

What does this mean to you?

  • You will still write cheques as you always have but the new format allows for a more streamlined process so your cheques will clear faster - at times hours instead of days.
  • You will be able to view your cheques online rather than waiting for your statement to arrive.
  • You can NOT use Accpac Plus Accounts Payables to print your cheques!.
  • You can just replace Accpac Plus Accounts Payables with Softrak's Adagio Payables or you can purchase a full new accounting system.

What are the main changes to the cheque specifications?

The image below highlights the main changes mandated by the new standards:

Image of cheque.

  1. Adoption of a numeric date field in a standardized format: DDMMYYYY.
  2. A mandatory serial number must be encoded in the MICR line on the bottom of the cheque.
  3. An increase in the minimum length of a cheque from 6 to 6¼ (or 15.88 cm) to ensure there is sufficient space to accommodate the mandatory serial number in the MICR line.
  4. Standardized positions for key fields on the cheque, such as the date field and the cheque amount field.
  5. Elements that could hinder the capture of images from the cheques must not be used. These include italics, *** at the end of the printed dollar amount text, a bottom border printed below the MICR line, the use of gel pens and some complex backgrounds.
  6. Security features must not interfere with image capture
  7. New requirements for the reverse of the cheque.

 Additional Cheque HelpCPA - Standards