An Illinois company has introduced copy-protected checks meant to reduce the costs of storing document images in addition to fighting fraud.

Moore Business Forms and Systems of Lake Forest said the word "void," invisible on each SecureScan check, appears on duplicates made with color copiers.

The checks cost 5% more than hidden-word checks designed by other companies but can reduce document-imaging costs, Moore executives said Monday in a teleconference.

The hidden words on other companies' anti-copying checks are picked up by the image-capture systems in banks' processing departments and stored, wasting system resources, Moore said. But scanners can't see the hidden words on SecureScan checks, it said.

"Data warehousing is a capital investment. SecureScan reduces this cost by reducing storage needs," said Michael Gutshall, director of sales development at Moore.

David Albury, director of marketing at NCR Corp., a manufacturer of imaging technology, said efficiency in the use of data warehouses will be increasingly important as banks discover new ways to use digitized images of their documents.

Such uses could include including issuing account statements on CD-ROM, providing on-line signature verification, and hastening check payment verification, he said.

"The trend in the banking industry is to get closer to customers and to use information to market more effectively to corporate and individual customers," said Mr. Albury. "Data warehousing systems can be used to target new revenue-generating businesses."

SecureScan is compatible with imaging systems designed by International Business Machines, Unisys, NCR, and Banctec.

Four banks, among them Fleet Financial Corp. of Boston, are using the checks. Fleet officials were not available for comment.

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