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This question is perhaps a rough fit for this SE site, but it is about information security, though not specifically about computers.

When ordering company checks, there are a plethora of options. One recurring option I keep seeing is a variety of security features. Intuit, for instance, claims to have "23 security features" on their checks, including a "tamper-resistant security coating" to prevent people from modifying the addressee. There are also "security holograms" that claim to prevent people from counterfeiting.

These features are prohibitively expensive (some orders can end up being a dollar a check). The prices at outlets like vistaprint, which are usually a third of the price of those at outlets with security features on the check, prompts the question: what am I really paying for regarding these expensive security features?

I have seen, on several occasions, "fraudulent cashings". I have seen checks cashed by persons other than the addressee, usually done for cash at less than reputable banking institutions, for which we then have to file an affidavit to get refunded to reissue the check. I have also seen checks cashed multiple times by the addressee. The recipient cashes the check using a mobile remote deposit app and then re-cashes it again some time later, usually because they mistakenly believe they didn't cash it when the find it six months later. The bank, for their part, seems not to care that the same check number, for the same amount, to the same addressee, is cashed twice. Seemingly a simple programmatic fix, but it remains unimplemented at my bank, and they offer no indication that they will.

Both of these recurring security issues have been carried out while my company has been using expensive Intuit "Secure Checks" that we have paid through the nose for. Given these examples, what actual purpose do these security features serve?

  • Security is based on the fact that you can get your money back and the tamper is difficult. From the standpoint as long as you are not losing money you're safe right? – Kamil Kurzynowski Feb 6 at 15:20
  • @KamilKurzynowski Well, yes, but I don't see how the security features aided in that at all. The tampering was plain to see in both types of cases: either the signatures plainly didn't match, or the same check appeared twice in the bank's register. Neither of those seem to be remotely related to the expensive security features on the check itself. My point is, what actual practical security do these expensive features provide? – malan Feb 6 at 15:27
  • My point is, I might as well downgrade, right? If there's something I'm legitimately losing, then I shouldn't. That's the question. – malan Feb 6 at 15:28

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