First Union Corp. is rolling out a new reporting service for large-dollar checks that is meant to help corporations detect fraud.
The service is believed to be the first of its type, according to cash management experts and First Union officials.
"It's not a difficult thing to do," said Richard Richardson, vice president of Phoenix-Hecht, a cash management research firm in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. "But, to my knowledge, there's not anyone else doing that."
First Union's new service, scheduled to be available later this summer, is called the Fraud Management Report.
Payee Name Is Key
Basically the report, which cash managers obtain from personal computers hooked through phone lines to bank computers, is a daily listing of all checks for more than $100,000 presented against their companies' controlled-disbursement accounts.
A key piece of information included in the report is the payee name.
Payee names aren't included in fraud detection systems typically used at banks, so bank clients can be vulnerable to con artists who change the name on a check.
The new service is intended to minimize that vulnerability, at least for large-dollar checks.
"We think its going to be extremely well received by most of our controlled-disbursement customers," said Catherine Bates, a vice president in the bank's cash management division.
Some corporate clients agreed.
"This looks like it would be a good tool," said Randy Sharrow, senior cash manager with Fieldcrest Cannon Inc. in Eden, N.C.
The company, a First Union customer, plans to test the report when it is available.
Michael Daly, a First Union product development manager, said that to make the report available the bank had to design a new computer system and hire a few extra clerical workers to key in payee names.
But Mr. Daly said the bank expects to make a profit on the service, by charging clients $5 each time they obtain a report.
Bank clients will not be charged if they ask for a report but no checks have been presented against their accounts for more than $100,000.