Payments Canada, its members and the Canadian Cheque Manufacturers Industry Group created the Cheque Printer Self Accreditation Program (CPSA Program). It improves the efficiency of the cheque testing process.
Cheques drawn on accounts held at Canadian financial institutions must meet the specifications of Standard 006.
Payments Canada recommends that organizations submit pre-production samples of their cheques to a financial institution for routine testing before use.
Cheques printed by a self accredited printer are not subject to Standard 006 testing requirements.
Eligibility for the CPSA program
To be eligible, a company must:
- print business or retail cheques for sale in Canada;
- attest that they produce Standard 006 compliant cheques
- attest that they meet the requirements of the self accreditation program.
The CPSA program specifies industry best practices about:
- required testing equipment
- equipment calibration and maintenance
- training of employees responsible for cheque testing
- cheque testing procedures.
Payments Canada issues a printer identification number to self accredited printers. They can print it on the back of any cheques they produce
CPSA Program administration
Payments Canada, supported by the Cheque Printer Self Accreditation Group (CPSAG), administers the program.
Members of the CPSAG include two representatives of financial institutions, two representatives of the Canadian Cheque Manufacturers Industry Group, and a Payments Canada representative.
Join the CPSA Program
Interested printers must complete an application form in which they attest:
- their compliance with Standard 006 within acceptable tolerances and deviations
- that they meet the additional requirements of the CPSA program.
There is an enrollment fee of $1000, and an annual fee of $300.
Join the Program
How do I know if a printer is self accredited?
Self accredited printers each have their own four-digit printer identification number. To be exempt from testing, the printer must print the identification number in the upper right corner of the back of the cheque.
Can a financial institution request testing on cheques that have a printer identification number?
Yes, non-routine testing on these cheques may still happen. This is usually for reasons like suspect quality or a specific product (such as positive pay or payee name matching).
What if a printer’s customer asks for proof that their cheques meet the requirements of Standard 006?
On request, a printer must provide a report to their customer that indicates the cheques comply with Standard 006 and that they tested a sample from each printer order/run.
What does the printer identification number look like?
The number must be printed in a minimum 10 point font size, a minimum print contrast signal of 0.60 and be prefaced by the words, “Printer ID#”.
Example: PRINTER ID#1234.
A printer can use the letter “B”, separated by a dash, when they are only responsible for the base paper stock (e.g. another party applies the MICR).
Example: PRINTER ID#1234-B.
A printer can use one extra character (except for the letter “B”) for internal purposes.
Example: PRINTER ID#1234X, or if the printer is only responsible for the base paper stock, PRINTER ID#1234X-B.
Printers are prohibited from printing an invalid, expired or revoked printer identification number on the back of any cheques.
Can a self-accreditation be revoked?
Yes. Production problems identified by financial institutions will result in a review by the Cheque Printer Self Accreditation Group.
A printer's self accreditation may be revoked if the dispute resolution process finds that they aren't compliant with the program requirements.
Can a printer use their self accredited status for marketing purposes?
Yes. However, printers cannot state that Payments Canada endorsed, certified or accredited the printer or any of its products.
If a printer’s self accreditation is revoked, can they re-apply?
If the self accreditation is revoked for reasons other than non-payment of fees, the printer can re-apply following a period of one year from the date of withdrawal.
The printer will have to pay the enrollment fee and attest to any corrective action taken related to the problem which led to the revocation of their self accreditation.
Printers who have their self accreditation revoked for failure to pay can re-apply at any time. They are required to pay the enrollment fee.
What are the specifications for cheques (mandatory and optional specification for MICR)?
Payments Canada Standard 006 provides the requirements for Imageable MICR-Encoded Payment Items.