Check image exchange and archive services provider Viewpointe (New York) said members of the Viewpointe User Group (VPUG) have voted to recommend adoption of the Universal Companion Document (UCD) for X9.100-187-2008 as well as a timeline for compliance with the UCD. This UCD was published in 2009 by the CheckImage Collaborative as a uniform industry approach for populating and validating check image files. One of the biggest obstacles to true interoperability has been the adoption of a standard check image file format. The UCD establishes a consistent approach for all industry participants to use when processing check image files in an effort to address those ongoing interoperability issues, noted Viewpointe in a release.
The Viewpointe Users Group is comprised of representatives from across the Viewpointe archive and exchange customer base. It recommended the approval of UCD adoption on September 15. If approved, VPUG anticipates the following timeline for UCD compliance:
- Viewpointe clearing customers will have the option to exchange UCD-compliant files starting March 29, 2010.
- Viewpointe customers will be required to support sending and receiving UCD-compliant files on September 27, 2010.
- Viewpointe partners that prefer to exchange with each other without the format will be permitted to do so on an exception basis provided there is a written agreement in place.
"This is an important next step in the process of reducing the inconsistent application of the standard for the exchange of check images," said Glenn Wheeler, president, Viewpointe Clearing Settlement and Associations Services (VPCS&AS), in a statement. "By adopting this common file structure, financial institutions could potentially manage only one file type when exchanging images with multiple UCD-compliant image exchange networks."
A copy of the UCD is being made available by the CheckImage Collaborative, a group comprised of ECCHO and the Retail Payments Office of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta comprised of representatives of trade and financial organizations throughout the U.S.
"This move is great for the industry," said David Walker, president and CEO, ECCHO. "By reducing the inconsistencies in the exchange of check images, we are advancing an efficient check payment system."