Air Force expanding check imaging system

When airmen at several overseas locations go to the bank to cash a check, an image of the check is now transmitted to the Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland and then onto the financial institution for payment via the electronic Military Paper Check Conversion System.

Developed by the Treasury Department, the system scans the paper checks and converts them into electronic images. The process is used to more quickly detect fraudulent checks by reducing the time it takes to fly paper checks back to the states, officials said.

'The Air Force can streamline its overseas check cashing process and reduce the number of bad checks received, and airmen and their families have a more accurate picture of their accounts,' said Michael G. Weber, an Air Force banking officer at the Pentagon.

The Air Force is in the process of making the system available worldwide after its roll out in the fall and expansion last month into the Pacific Rim.

Weber said the system would reduce the workload and cut back on the costs associated with the collection of bad checks.

An Air Force official said the significant lag time from when an airmen first cashes his check to getting that check to clear through banks and credit unions often causes financial mismanagement.

'MPCC will not only help cashiers identify bad check writers, but will also help check writers balance their checkbooks and so help them not to write bad checks in the first place,' the official said.

The system is being tested at Geilenkirchen Air Base in Germany; Incirlik and Izmir Air Bases in Turkey; Stavanger Air Base in Norway; and other locations in the Middle East.

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