X9B Checks and Back-office Operations Subcommittee – Project Status


X9.100-10 Paper for MICR Documents

This standard has completed its five year review and was published by ANSI on August 12, 2016.

This standard establishes paper specifications for the MICR documents that are used in the US Payments System. While checks, substitute checks (IRDs) and deposit tickets are the primary documents considered in these specifications, users of MICR/OCR E-13B font readers will be well served by applying these specifications to internal documents, when intended for use in reader/sorters. This standard gives specifications to those attributes most important and most common both to raw base stock and to finished printed products of MICR documents.

X9.100-20 Print and Test Specification for Magnetic Ink Printing (MICR)

This standard has completed its five year review and was published by ANSI on May 8, 2015.

X9.100-20  presents the character set “E-13B” which can be read by certain magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) and optical character recognition (OCR) systems. The character set includes numerals 0 through 9 and four special symbols. The standard also specifies the shape, dimensions, and tolerances for printed MICR “E-13B” characters and specifications regarding print quality.

Part 1 is the MICR Print Specifications itself while Part 2 includes informative compliance testing to guide the practitioner in a uniform way how to determine actual conformance with these specifications. Part 3 contains the specification for secondary reference documents and Signal Level testing equipment for maintaining the signal level accuracy and reproducibility of secondary reference documents.

X9.100-40-1 and X9.100-40-2 (R2017) Specifications for Check Image Tests Part 1: Definition of Elements and Structures Part 2: Application and Registration Procedures

These two standards were recently reaffirmed by the X9B subcommittee. Part 1 of ANSI X9.100-40 defines the elements and structures for standard check image tests used by the financial industry to assess specific attributes of check images. The specification establishes a framework for defining check image tests, conveying the results from executing a check image test, and conveying any parameters used in executing check image tests. Part 2 of ANSI X9.100-40 describes the application and registration procedures used to register check image tests that conform to this ANSI X9.100-40 Part 1 standard.

X9.100-140 Image Replacement Document (IRD)

This standard recently completed its five year review and was published on August 19, 2016. X9.100-140 provides the financial industry with a specification for an Image Replacement Document (IRD) that provides for a machine readable substitute document created from the image that is made from the front and back of the original check. Recent update removes Annex A Return Reason Information which will now be consolidated with return reasons for Image Exchange into a new standard X9.100-188. Future plans are to consolidate working groups X9AB3 into X9AB6 to support maintenance of all Check Image-related standards under one working group.

X9.100-187 Electronic Exchange of Check and Image Data 

This standard has recently completed its five year review and was published by ANSI on August 19, 2016. The working group for this standard is X9B6. The purpose of this standard is to provide the financial industry with a format necessary to perform electronic check exchange (ECE), with or without images. The format supports forward presentment, posting, return notification, and return requests, as well as existing customer information reporting products. The standard also supports multiple check clearing alternatives, e.g., bank-to-bank, bank-to-switch. This standard is now available on the ANSI web store.

X9.100-188 Return Reasons

This standard was developed by the former X9AB6 working group and was published on May 13, 2016 by ANSI. This standard is a list of Return Reason codes that are used by the Financial Services industry for image exchange and the creation of IRDs. These codes are currently included within the ANSI X9.100-187 and ANSI X9.100-140 standards. The separation of the Return Reason Codes in its own standard makes updating and adding new codes easier for the X9 work group. A new Annex, Proper Use of Return Reason Codes, is introduced in X9.100-188. The consolidation of return codes information helps facilitate the implementation by banks and vendors, while providing better support to the user community.

X9.100-189 Virtual Paying Agent Stamp for Savings Bonds

The initial Board Ballot for this standard closed on March 11, 2016. It is still in the drafting stage and PINS were submitted to notify ANSI on May 24, 2016. This project was developed to create a standard that defines a virtual paying agent stamp for Savings Bonds. A virtual stamp would eliminate the manual process of hand stamping the item. A standard to define the requirements of a virtual stamp will ensure the placement, font size, and data elements of the data provided are consistent and appropriate, and will not obscure important data on the bond.

X9.129 Electronic File Format Standards for Presentment and Remittance of Legal Orders

This is a new standard that was recently approved by ANSI and is available for download at the ANSI web store. The need for a standard for legal orders was realized because, in today’s environment, legal orders are generated in a large number of formats by a variety of different government agencies.  These documents are then mailed to the bank for processing.  When the bank receives the requests (mail, fax, spreadsheet) the process for fulfilling them is highly manual, which is time consuming and can be prone to errors, and there are limited areas where automation is applied.  In most cases, the basic types of information, required for processing, are the same across the different request types.  By creating a set of standards for electronic file formats for the different request types, benefits will be realized by both the requester and the receiver through automation of the process.The introduction of a set of standards for electronic delivery and response to legal orders will result in efficiency gains through improved quality and speed, as well as an overall reduction in delivery, tracking and processing costs.

TR-2 Understanding, Designing and Producing Checks

This technical report was last updated in 2005 and is now going through an extensive review by X9B2 to update standard references and focus on today’s image-based processing. Technical Report 2 (TR 2) is designed to inform readers about the life cycle of a check and its image from production to presentment to settlement and payment. It offers background and instruction on a wide variety of features found on a paper check, from factors which make it a negotiable instrument to interpreting fractional routing numbers. Additional material has been included to update the banking practices concerning checks. TR-2 is useful to both the novice just entering a financial service career to the subject matter expert within the diverse fields of printing, processing and banking.

TR-6 Quality MICR Printing and Evaluation

This technical report has just completed its five year review and was registered by ANSI on June 26, 2016. This technical report covers all MICR printing and is intended to improve MICR quality via understanding and uniform interpretation of existing standards and specifications of MICR. The basic elements of MICR are defined in existing American National Standards, which are referenced where appropriate. This document serves as a single reference for the foremost set of elements that will produce quality MICR documents.

TR-33 Check Image Quality Assurance with Data Transaction Integrity

This technical report was last updated in 2005 and is now going through and extensive review by X9B15 to update standard references and focus on today’s total image-based processing. The technical report will convey the state of the art in the industry’s thinking about image quality and check transaction data integrity from the perspective of developing common infrastructure and business practices. It is intended for bank managers, technical support personnel and vendors to the industry who are involved in the provision of image-supported check electronic clearing.

TR-47 Universal Companion Document Industry Adoption of X9.100-187

This technical report was registered and published by ANSI on November 13, 2016. This technical report is not intended to replace the ANSI X9.100-187 standard, but rather to clarify how financial institutions use the standard to ensure all necessary and appropriate payment data is exchanged between collecting and paying institutions. The UCD was written to identify and share information on Check Image clearing that will help financial institutions understand, and successfully implement, image exchange. It was prepared by the CheckImage Collaborative in 2014, which was initiated by the Electronic Check Clearing House Organization (ECCHO) and the Retail Payments Office (RPO) of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.