Other Layout Requirements

1. Crossings

Crossings refer to two parallel transverse lines that serve as a direction to the paying institution that the item may only be paid through a Financial Institution and not cashed.

The optional addition of the words "Not Negotiable" and "Account Payee Only" must be printed substantially between the two parallel lines.

It is desirable that crossings forming part of a cheque be conspicuous and placed as close as possible to the centre of the document. It is unwise to place the crossing near any edge of a document as it may be possible to cut or tear the document and so remove the crossing.

Printed crossings must not extend into the name of the Financial Institution or its branch name or into the 5/8" (16 mm) MICR clear band across the bottom of the document and must be at least 2 1/2" (63 mm) from the right hand edge of the document. The crossing must be printed as scan readable.

 2. Clear Bands

The following clear bands (see Figure 3) must be maintained:

  • 5/8" (16 mm) on foot of document
  • 1/4" (6 mm) on each side of document
  • 1/8" (3 mm) on head of document

Foreground printing in the Areas of Interest must not extend into the clear band areas except for:

  • MICR encoding in the 5/8" (16mm) band at the foot of the document; and
  • The Warning Band that may be printed in the bands across the head or down the left-hand side of the document.

Background printing should extend into the clear bands, but it is preferred that the clear band reserved for MICR encoding be left unprinted.

 3. Colours

The background of a document must be printed as scan non-readable and must be printed in at least all the Areas of Interest.

The foreground information must be visually recognisable against the background and must be printed as scan readable.

 4. "For and on behalf of"

The words "For and on behalf of" are required in some instances. This will protect a duly authorised signatory on behalf of a named principal from personal liability on a cheque. Please contact your Financial Institution for more details. These words must be printed as scan readable.

 5. Printing on Reverse of Cheque

No printing other than backgrounds is permitted on the reverse side of the Clear Band areas. Any printing on the reverse of the document must be printed as scan nonreadable so as not to interfere with trace numbers and stamps applied by the Financial Institution during processing.

 6. Carbonising

The background image created by the use of carbon ink or wax is incompatible with image processing equipment and therefore its use is discouraged. Carbonising is permissible only on the reverse side of cheques and is to be restricted to the smallest possible area, but must not intrude into the MICR clear band.

Printers must take care in the selection of background colour when a carbon strip is used. The resultant colour on the face of the cheque must not exceed the maximum permitted PCS level for background colour.

Carbonless paper (CB) or interleaved one-time carbon is preferred for encoded documents.

Any coating applied on the front or reverse must not encroach into the 5/8" (16mm) MICR clear band.

 7. Paper

Cheques must be printed on sensitised paper conforming to specifications detailed in Section 6 of the Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) Technical Specifications.

 8. Company Name and ACN, ARBN or ABN

The company's legal name and ACN, ARBN or ABN must appear on the cheque in accordance with current corporate and business name legislation and must not be printed in less than 8 points in size for fonts with a regular stroke width and not less than 10 points in size for fonts with an irregular stroke width.

On specially printed cheques, the customer's trading name and/or corporate logo will usually appear at Bullet Point 1. If the legal name appears here, the ACN, ARBN or ABN must immediately follow.

If the customer’s legal name is not at Bullet point 1 it must be at Bullet point 5 with the ACN, ARBN or ABN following. Information appearing at Bullet point 1 may be repeated at Bullet point 5 and optionally additional information such as the trading name and/or account title (eg. Dividend A/C), if required.

 9. Continuous Cheques

Cheques produced in continuous form must have all sprocket hole selvedges removed before distribution.

Cutting devices used for the removal of sprocket holes and for document separation must allow for the correct positioning of any encoding in relation to the reference edges of the document and give clean edges.

When the selvedge on continuous deposit forms is not perforated, guide marks must be provided to indicate the correct guillotining position.

Only slit perforations or micro-perforations are permissible on any edge or within the document. The horizontal perforation between the payment advice and the cheque must comply with the requirements of Section 5 - Perforations.

 10. Cheque Serial Number

Some Financial Institutions may require the serial number to be printed in plain characters (in addition to MICR encoding). Refer to relevant Financial Institution.

It is recommended that the number to be printed in plain characters (normal type font) be located within an imaginary rectangle measuring 1 1/4" (32mm) wide by 3/8" (10mm) high with the top righthand corner being 1/8" (3mm) from the top of the form and 1/4" (6mm) from the right-hand side.

 11. Additional Information on Document

Some Financial Institutions may require additional information printed in plain characters (normal type font) in the body of the document; for form and location refer to the relevant Financial Institution.

 12. Financial Institution’s Acceptance of Cheque Design

Before production commences the printer must obtain a Design Approval Number (DAN) if not already held and a Printing Approval Number (PAN) from the customer’s or other relevant Financial Institution.

Upon approval for printing, the Financial Institution will issue a Confirmatory Authority.

Source: Design Specifications for Cheques - APCA (Australian Payments Clearing Association)