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Check21 Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Q: What is Check21?
A: Check21 allows any financial institution to take a printed check and convert it to an image. Check21 was designed to increase the speed and efficiency of the check processing system, reduce costs and make it less susceptible to delays.

Q: Does Check21 reduce the need for checks?
A: No. Check21 will not affect the need for an original check. It legislates what can happen to that check once it is presented for payment.

Q: What does it mean if your customer or his bank asks if their checks are "Check21 Compliant"?
A: The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private, non-profit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system. The ANSI X9 Board determines approval for voluntary American National Standards for Financial Services. The main standard that is referred to in the Check21 Legislation is the ANSI X9.7 standard for Image Readiness. While the ANSI X9.7 standard is voluntary many large financial institutions have implemented these standards.

Q: How does Check21 affect bank customers?
A: Whether bank customers can get all their original checks back is out of the paying bank's control. Many times banks will only have access to an image of the check. Electronic check images are generally kept for up to seven years.

Q: How will Graphic Dimensions assist distributors and their customers with their Check21 needs?
A: Graphic Dimensions complies with the Image Ready requirement put forth by the Check21 Act.
  • We can test any new or repeat order at NO CHARGE to verify if an order is Check21 compliant.
  • All FlexMate Software Compatible Templates are Image Ready.
  • All CheckMate base stock formats are image ready compliant.
  • Standard Graphic Dimensions Pantographs are Image ready.
  • Void Pantographs - we have developed a version that is Check21 compliant.
Q: Why doesn't Graphic Dimensions automatically change all check orders to be Check21 compliant?
  • Check21 ANSI standards for Image Ready documents are voluntary. Many banks do not require check image standards from their customers.
  • To make your customers checks complaint, it may require changes that might slightly alter the aesthetic of the document. We would like you and your customer to approve these changes prior to manufacturing the order. Our goal as always is to produce a product that will meet and exceed you and your customer's requirements.
Q: What if you would like a new check designed to Check21/Image Ready Standards?
A: Please prominently mark on your purchase order "Make Check21 Compliant" on any order that you would like the check job designed/tested to confirm Check21/Image Ready standards.

Q: What are banks doing to enforce Check21 image ready standards for documents?
A: Since Check21/ANSI X9.7 is a voluntary standard, many banks are not enforcing Check21/Image Ready standards at this time. Some large Banks may suggest to their customers that they redesign their checks to image ready standards.

Q: If you would like to make a document Check21 Compliant/Image Ready, what changes (if necessary) will be needed to comply?
A: For the document to be image ready. The requirements are:
  • The check background must drop out when scanned. This will not be an issue on any Graphic Dimensions standard pantographs. We have also created a Check21 compliant version of our Void pantograph. We also verify that our check backgrounds will drop out when scanned by the banks imaging equipment. We have tested Cross/Hatched colored safety paper and it complies with image ready standards.
  • No solid boxes or reverses in the Areas of interest (AOI) on a check. Use plain text in place of the reversed out boxes.
  • 5/8" MICR Clear Band- 5/8" from the bottom of the check must not contain any magnetic ink except for MICR numbers/symbols.
  • File size should be below 90K. Banks prefer to keep the file size limitation to a minimum. This makes it easier for them to store and transmit an image of the check.
Q: What are the Areas of interest (AOI) on a check?
A: Areas of interest (AOI) are the areas on a check that contain the critical data needed for imaging. These areas include the Date, Payee, Legal Amount, Signature Lines and the MICR Line Area.
  • Numerical Amount
  • Date
  • Payee
  • Legal Amount (Amount Spelled out)
  • Signature
  • MICR Line Area (5/8" MICR Clear Band)

Q: Can Graphic Dimensions Test a custom, FlexMate, FlexMate YourBase or CheckMate check and verify that it is Check21 Compliant?
A: Yes. Graphic Dimensions has Image Ready Testing Equipment. We use the same equipment used by banks to test if a check is Image Ready.

Q: Where can you go for additional information on Check21?
A: These websites contain useful information. Q: If you have additional questions about Check21 whom should I call?
A: Please refer questions to your local Graphic Dimensions Facility or Regional Sales manager or email
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