Fed implements check modernization plan
WASHINGTON - All indicators show e-commerce is gaining in popularity, but don't shred those paper checks yet. Paper checks are likely to continue as a dominant form of consumer payments, says the Fed, and the agency is readying to implement a check modernization initiative to develop more efficient ways to clear checks than the traditional sorting and delivery of paper. The Fed's check modernization initiative has four components, each one addressing an aspect of the check clearing process - check standardization; image services; enterprise-wide adjustments; and FedLine for the Web Check Services. * The check standardization project will convert the check item-processing platforms at each of the Fed's 45 sites to a standard, centrally managed platform. This will enable all Fed Banks to offer more uniform and national services to customers, eliminate redundant activities, adapt more easily to volume fluctuations; improve long term processing efficiency and costs; and more easily adopt new technologies. * The image services system project will establish a standard, centrally managed image platform with a national image archive. With this archive, any Fed Reserve Office will be able to retrieve any check image, regardless of where it was processed. Fed customers will also be able to perform their own lookups of images over the Internet for single items or batches of checks. * The enterprise-wide adjustments project will move check adjustments to a common platform with shared data across Federal Reserve Banks. This will streamline and standardize the adjustment research and resolution process. * For FedLine for the Web, check products currently offered on DOS FedLine will be available over the Internet on FedLine for the Web. New check products will also be developed for Web delivery. Financials will be able to access Check Services with a PC in any location using a standard browser and Internet service provider.