A2iA and Softpro announced today the first collaboration to combat check fraud worldwide.
The companies have pioneered a unique solution which will be marketed globally under Softpro's FraudOne and SignPlus brands. The solution combines proven handwriting recognition, signature verification and fraud detection technologies to create a holistic check fraud prevention solution for the world's financial institutions. FraudOne and SignPlus are available in six languages and on five continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
In a strategic meeting in July, Frank Fuchs, CEO of Softpro, and Jean-Louis Fages, Chairman of the Board and CEO of A2iA, signed an agreement that further intensifies the companies' already successful partnership by allowing Softpro to market and sell A2iA products. The upcoming release 3.9 of Softpro's FraudOne and SignPlus products will incorporate A2iA CheckReader. The combined offering enhances the range of check processing applications and provides unparalleled fraud prevention capabilities. The alliance also represents a team approach to addressing local market needs, such as those required in countries that rely heavily on checks such as the United States, Brazil and the United Kingdom. As an example, Softpro will be using functionality from A2iA CheckReader that has been created specifically for this alliance, such as the ability to interpret handwritten dates on Brazilian checks. One of Brazil's largest banks will already implement the new solution by year end.
According to the American Banker's Association, check fraud accounted for more than $5.5 billion in losses in the United States alone in 2004. This was up from the 2001 losses of $4.3 billion. Similarly in the U.K., check fraud attempts increased by 20 percent between 2004 and 2005 to a total of £665 million in potential fraud losses. This indicates that the use of checks as a vehicle for fraudulent transactions is a global phenomena.
Up until now, the challenge to fighting this fraud has been to reduce check processing costs while increasing, rather than decreasing, protection against fraud losses. The new FraudOne/SignPlus solution will result in substantial savings for bankss back-office check processing centers by automating tedious and error-prone manual verification while significantly improving the detection of fraudulent items. This solution will enable banks to take necessary precautions to secure the paper-based payment process and prevent losses from check fraud in a truly cost-effective manner.
Softpro has a proven track record with its systems for the validation of handwritten signatures and fraud prevention in payment processes. The company provides the FraudOne suite of products, which were initially conceived in cooperation with Softpro by a consortium of the largest U.S. banks. The solution is considered by the U.S. Tier 1 banks to be a "best practice industry initiative" to combat check fraud and has been deployed at many of the world’s largest financial institutions since its inception.
A2iA CheckReader automatically reads cursive handwriting, handprint and machine print from key check fields – including courtesy and legal amounts, address block, payee name, and date – and converts the information into computer-usable, actionable data. With the inclusion of A2iA CheckReader in FraudOne, banks will not only be able to automatically verify the signatures on check images using Softpro's award-winning technology, but also be able to analyze the data contained within key check fields. The image analysis will be complemented by Softpro's unique rules-based risk identification module, Combined Risk Score (CRS), which allows the incorporation of the bank's internal fraud rules to provide unprecedented accuracy levels in suspect check identification.