Keeping Everything In Check With Recognition Software

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Solution providers catering to the POS industry now have more to work with from A2iA.

The New York-based software company has enhanced CheckReader 3.5, its check-recognition software, and its ability to detect fraudulent checks and to be integrated with check-processing operations that run on the open-source Linux platform.

CheckReader software locates and reads information from both business and personal checks and other banking documents, allowing for the creation of digital images of checks, which hold the same legal status as paper check
documents under the federal Check Clearing For The 21st Century Act (Check 21) and allows them to be transmitted over secure networks.

The software examines the scanned image of a check for a variety of potential irregularities. It also verifies that there is a signature, flags checks that are more than 180 days old and can automatically capture monetary amounts written in either numbers or words.

One feature of A2iA's software's improved fraud-detection capabilities is that it now has the ability to compare the payer's name to a reference check stock and analysis of the area where the payer's name appears to ensure that no names were added or other changes were made. A new COM interface speeds up processing and enables solution providers to integrate the software with .Net and C# applications.

Versions of A2iA CheckReader 3.5 are made for 20 countries, including a new version that was created to recognize amounts for checks from Singapore and another version with date and amount recognition capabilities for checks from Malaysia.

The company also released A2iA CheckReader 3.5 for Linux. Adding functionality with Linux has the potential to bring the software to a larger market.

"We've been trying to take it out of [the banking] industry and bring it into a wider channel, make this technology available for wider use," said Courtney Rand, director of marketing and sales at A2iA.

"We see a lot of new applications being developed on Linux. It gives us the flexibility to partner with companies like IBM, AIS and Sun Microsystems' Solaris. I think there's a lot of interest in those types of systems too," Rand said.

Gwen Gaumond, systems engineer at Twinstar, a Denver-based imaging and content management consultancy, agrees. "I can say that's a wonderful direction that they're [A2iA] moving in. It opens up a whole new set of customers that we can implement with because they have included the Linux platform."

While Gaumond has yet to deploy the Linux software, she said that when she bids for business with financial companies, the A2iA CheckReader is always part of the package.

"Typically, the companies we work with are processing investments; they're not a bank but they do have to record the check and send it to a bank," Gaumond said. "They record check numbers in their line of business applications, and if we can capture it with recognition software, it's more information that their clerks don't have to key in, which tends to save them a lot of time and produce ROI for their software."

Rian Maloney, vice president of emerging image solutions at VectorSGI, an Addison, Texas-based integrator, agrees that adding Linux functionality is a smart move for A2iA, but VectorSGI has not deployed it yet.

"That will be interesting maybe a little bit farther down the road for us," Maloney said. "We run the software in two different product lines, one more centralized within banking operations centers. We may take advantage of it there, but typically corporations are running Windows-based PCs for a lot of their back-office operations and we're talking small volumes."

About 40 VARs work with A2iA, and the software maker is looking to secure deals with national distributors. The company relies on the channel for 100 percent of its business and margins can be as high as 75 percent. The company also offers training to partners and VARs.

"We try to give our VARs as much support as we can. We don't want any channel conflict, so even if someone comes to us directly we put the sale through a VAR," Rand said.

"They've been a very good partner. Their software has been very reliable. More important, they've been very good to work with in terms of flexibility,"
VectorSGI's Maloney said.

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