In 2003, Congress passed The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, a federal law designed to enable banks to handle more checks electronically. In March 2004, The Financial Services Technology Consortium (FSTC), now part of The Financial Services Roundtable (FRS), launched an industry project to study check image quality and usability to help the industry prepare for implementation of the new law which became effective October 28, 2004.
The project included 28 FSTC member organizations, which included 14 financial institutions, clearing houses and exchanges. Phase One of the project concluded in just 101 days after which a final report defining a standard set of terminology and metrics for image quality and usability for check image exchange was publicly released on June 30, 2004.
The Image Quality and Usability Assurance Project continued with a second phase with the goal to produce a set of metrics against which check images could be judged and establish thresholds that identify unusable images. The study included a test of the metrics against over 3.5 million check images, paving the way to industry wide adoption of check image exchange. The Phase Two Final report was publicly released on October 31, 2005.
On February 1, 2006, an errata to the final report was released, correcting a couple errors.