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ink colours for check writing


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25 replies to this topic

#1 Sakura

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 13:53

Beyond the standard blue or black, are there any other colours of ink that are acceptable for checks?

Not that I would sign with bright yellow, but I'm curious if any unconventional hues (fuscia, emerald green, dark orange) are legally acceptable and pose no problems as long as they are legible. Or heck, anything besides blue or black, or a combination thereof.

I'm assuming permanent/waterproof inks for the purposes of this question (thank you, Noodler's, for the Permanent Rainbow.)




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#2 acfrery

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 14:10

Hi,

I have used dark green and brown, with no problems so far. I once read that red is not appropriate for my bank, since the scanner they use does not respond well in that region of the spectrum... but that was a long time ago and I am not a big fan o red ink.

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#3 beezaur

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 14:35

QUOTE(acfrery @ Aug 4 2007, 02:10 PM) View Post
I once read that red is not appropriate for my bank, since the scanner they use does not respond well in that region of the spectrum...


Green ink of medium darkness does not scan well on my all-in-one at my office, but red of the same shade does fine. I stick to Noodler's Black or Legal Lapis for checks. I think anything dark is fine.

It seems like I remember reading that green has at least historical significance in banking, thus Noodler's Bank Note Green. And I believe purple has a special use for internal bank purposes.

Scott


#4 Ray

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 14:45

Use any colour you like. If the bank's machinery has trouble with it, that's their problem, not yours. You don't even need a printed cheque (at least in the UK, and I suspect elsewhere), but can write the details on and sign any old piece of paper and it will be a valid bank instruction.

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#5 playpen

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 15:14

I usually sign mine in disappearing ink...... lticaptd.gif

Seriously, I wonder which permanent ink would be safest in vintage pens.

Edited by playpen, 04 August 2007 - 15:18.


#6 FrankB

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 16:01

I agree that you can use any color ink you want. Because bullet proof ink is now available, I have taken to using it but I have it in limited colors. I usually use Noodler's "Legal Lapis" and "Eternal Brown." I have a habit that is decades older than bullet proof ink, though. I like to sign my name in a non black or blue ink. These days, I write out my checks with Legal Lapis and sign with the Eternal Brown. Why? On the original check the color of the signature is non standard ink. If there is ever any question about a check's authenticity, my first question will be to examine the original check. If that check is signed in standard ink, I did not write or sign that check. Period.

playpen, I do not use bullet proof inks in my vintage pens. I prefer to use BP inks in newer pens. That is my personal choice, but I really do not see any reason why not to use BP inks in vintage pens, except that the nib creep might become really serious.

#7 Col

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 17:54

I wouldn't ever try to establish this as a general rule, but I find myself being very conservative about this. For any kind of business, I always use black ink (and the blacker the better). For correspondence, I usually use a (dark) blue ink. I even carry this over to signing printed letters; if it's business I sign in black, less formal in blue.

That's not to say that I wouldn't use other colours writing to friends, where they are unlikely to make a judgement about me based on the colour of ink I use.
Col

#8 BillTheEditor

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 18:01

QUOTE(Col @ Aug 4 2007, 12:54 PM) View Post
I wouldn't ever try to establish this as a general rule, but I find myself being very conservative about this. For any kind of business, I always use black ink (and the blacker the better). For correspondence, I usually use a (dark) blue ink. I even carry this over to signing printed letters; if it's business I sign in black, less formal in blue.

That's not to say that I wouldn't use other colours writing to friends, where they are unlikely to make a judgement about me based on the colour of ink I use.

I've used every color I've got, including red, to write checks. None have ever been refused or turned away, so I conclude that Tte ink color does not matter to the bank and does not affect the validity of the check.

#9 Margana

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 18:08

I recently tried Legal Lapis in a Sailor Sapporo fine with a rhodium nib and much to my delight have experienced no nip creep. Zero! Those two are now wedded for life unlike the Vacs and "51"s I tried Lapis with in the past. The nib creep was significant enough to leave a deposit in the cap that would migrate to the section and eventually my fingers. No issues with the Sapporo so now I have a pen at the ready for checks whenever needed. biggrin.gif
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#10 Sakura

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 18:09

QUOTE(Col @ Aug 4 2007, 07:54 PM) View Post
I wouldn't ever try to establish this as a general rule, but I find myself being very conservative about this. For any kind of business, I always use black ink (and the blacker the better). For correspondence, I usually use a (dark) blue ink. I even carry this over to signing printed letters; if it's business I sign in black, less formal in blue.

That's not to say that I wouldn't use other colours writing to friends, where they are unlikely to make a judgement about me based on the colour of ink I use.


It's not a bad rule to have. Actually I like your formalness (formality? now I'm Mrs. Malaprop).

I am not thinking to make a spectacle of myself signing legal documents in a rainbow of tacky colours, but I was curious about two things: First, is it allowed "just because", and second, is there security merit in having a unique, easily identifiable signature colour...Frank just described a case where it would be.

Sometimes you might find yourself stuck at the register with a weird ink in your pen...how embarrassing to have to pocket your glorious plume and accept the chewed-on Round Stic the cashier hands you. sick.gif

There are some nice shades out there, such as the ones in the dark red/burgundy sort of range, that would be kind of elegant as a "signature signature", if you will.


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#11 Col

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 18:23

QUOTE(BillTheEditor @ Aug 4 2007, 07:01 PM) View Post
I conclude that Tte ink color does not matter to the bank and does not affect the validity of the check.

I realise that, Bill - I'm not really using black in deference to the bank, it's just a personal preference.

Col

#12 encephalartos

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 20:35

..."the chewed-on Bic stick"...

Especially avoid the blue ballpoint.

If you can find a copy of the Greg Clark Ink Sampler book, there are copies
of articles at the back on check washing. Usually this process removes
ballpoint in using commonly available solvents. After that a different payee
and amount are forged and the check is submitted for payment. Blue ballpoint
is especially susceptible. According to Mr. Clark's tests, almost any fountain
pen ink would show evidence that the check had been tampered. As there
is already printing on the check paper, the forger has the difficulty that check
printing ink needs to remain. So, the suggestion at the end of the article
was load up your fountain pen with your favorite ink and write your check.

Gel pens are not susceptible to the check washers' methods, either.

I have used Noodlers Zhivago for check writing and feel quite confident about
it, as it's near-bulletproof, so the black part stays on.

#13 Sakura

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 20:55

QUOTE(encephalartos @ Aug 4 2007, 10:35 PM) View Post
..."the chewed-on Bic stick"...

Especially avoid the blue ballpoint.

If you can find a copy of the Greg Clark Ink Sampler book, there are copies
of articles at the back on check washing. Usually this process removes
ballpoint in using commonly available solvents. After that a different payee
and amount are forged and the check is submitted for payment. Blue ballpoint
is especially susceptible. According to Mr. Clark's tests, almost any fountain
pen ink would show evidence that the check had been tampered. As there
is already printing on the check paper, the forger has the difficulty that check
printing ink needs to remain. So, the suggestion at the end of the article
was load up your fountain pen with your favorite ink and write your check.

Gel pens are not susceptible to the check washers' methods, either.

I have used Noodlers Zhivago for check writing and feel quite confident about
it, as it's near-bulletproof, so the black part stays on.



This is very interesting. This book is out of print, no? Shocking how many people think ballpoints are the way to do checks. I would still use bulletproof ink though.

Thank you for that bit of information!
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#14 amh210

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 21:18

QUOTE(playpen @ Aug 4 2007, 08:14 AM) View Post
I usually sign mine in disappearing ink...... lticaptd.gif

Seriously, I wonder which permanent ink would be safest in vintage pens.


I have never had a problem with Noodlers Tahitian Pearl in my "51". I prefer it to Noodlers Legal Lapis as it seems less prone to creep and feathering. I find the colors to be very similar.

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#15 southpaw

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 21:57

I've used any of the permanent Noodlers that I have, including Lexington Gray, Devil Red, Verdun Green, Black, Tahitian Pearl (dark blue-black), FPN Galileo Manuscript Brown, Gulfstream Blue, Aquamarine Blue, Iraqi Indigo, and Seminole Sepia. Never had a problem and don't expect one.
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#16 extrafine

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 22:35

I generally write cheques using Legal Lapis. At least the payee and amount... I find amusement in using a washable ink for the signature: I figure it'll teach "'em" to try :-).

Among "regular" inks, some are definitely better than others. Private Reserve American Blue, of which I have a bottle (and adore the colour) is particularily horrible in this respect: it washes almost completely out under tap water. Visconti blue (a rather nice colour, which works well in almost pens) is also pretty bad this way.

In my experience, almost all inks can be removed with bleach, other than Noodler's. While this would leave traces and one would presumably "win" the case - why have the hassle? I keep a Pilot 78G (an extremely good value for the money, if you ask me... holds nicely, great flow and CHEAP) loaded with Legal Lapis regardless of whatever other ink/pen I'm enjoying at the moment, and use it exclusively for cheques and addressing envelopes.

I've found that it takes very little Noodler's to achieve an unremoveable trace - I've mixed it in with other inks, though I wouldn't recommend doing this without the appropriate tests, etc.


QUOTE(encephalartos @ Aug 4 2007, 04:35 PM) View Post
If you can find a copy of the Greg Clark Ink Sampler book, there are copies
of articles at the back on check washing. Usually this process removes
ballpoint in using commonly available solvents. After that a different payee
and amount are forged and the check is submitted for payment. Blue ballpoint
is especially susceptible. According to Mr. Clark's tests, almost any fountain
pen ink would show evidence that the check had been tampered. As there
is already printing on the check paper, the forger has the difficulty that check
printing ink needs to remain. So, the suggestion at the end of the article
was load up your fountain pen with your favorite ink and write your check.

Gel pens are not susceptible to the check washers' methods, either.

I have used Noodlers Zhivago for check writing and feel quite confident about
it, as it's near-bulletproof, so the black part stays on.



#17 Viseguy

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 22:50

QUOTE(Ray @ Aug 4 2007, 10:45 AM) View Post
Use any colour you like. If the bank's machinery has trouble with it, that's their problem, not yours. You don't even need a printed cheque (at least in the UK, and I suspect elsewhere), but can write the details on and sign any old piece of paper and it will be a valid bank instruction.

I disagree. This may be true as a matter of law, but if the bank can't process the check it most definitely is your problem. Clearance may be delayed; if your payment is late, your credit rating may be hurt; if the check can't be processed, it may be treated as a bounced check and your bank may charge a fee. These risks may be remote, or they may be imminent -- who knows? My point is, better safe than sorry. In the U.S. the Check 21 Act permits banks to scan checks and provide the customer with an electronic copy in lieu of the original canceled check. Many banks now do so; at least, mine does. For this reason, banks usually recommend , if not insist, that checks be written with a dark ink that scans well. That is a perfectly reasonable request, IMO, and one that you ignore at your peril.
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#18 Sakura

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 23:07

QUOTE(Viseguy @ Aug 6 2007, 12:50 AM) View Post
That is a perfectly reasonable request, IMO, and one that you ignore at your peril.

Better safe than sorry. When I finally get to try some Noodler's, which I'm itching to do, I'll make sure one of my unconventional choices will be on the darker side.
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#19 DRP

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 23:23

Any color is legal in the US though for practical purposes, dark colors are preferable. Dark colors can be read more easily by automated equipment and are harder to wash off. Even if you don't use a permanent ink, a DARK red or a DARK green will be hard to wash away on most paper that checks are printed on.

I've used Private Reserve Plum, for example and it can be photographed well by the bank's equipment.

DARK ink seems to be the key rather than color.

#20 Tojusi

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 06:55

Slightly off-topic:

These discussions always remind me that the US payment system is still very much based on checks for some reason. On the other hand, Europe (or at least, Scandinavian countries or at the very least Finland) has moved to a very different direction: Even though checks as such are recognised in Finland (there is even a specific law for them), I think currently no retailer will accept checks as payment. Instead, payment is cash, direct debit card or credit card.

For any bills such as electricity, insurance, etc. Internet banking or authorising direct debit is the generally preferred method of payment.

Hence, forging checks is not an issue in Finland. But I still use bulletproof inks! thumbup.gif

/Tojusi

#21 Ray

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 07:00

Yes, cheques are pretty much dead now throughout Europe. On Viseguy's point ("Clearance may be delayed; if your payment is late, your credit rating may be hurt; if the check can't be processed, it may be treated as a bounced check and your bank may charge a fee. ") this would not happen here; it would be illegal for the Bank to treat a properly-executed instruction that way.

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#22 Sakura

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 07:30

QUOTE(Tojusi @ Aug 6 2007, 08:55 AM) View Post
These discussions always remind me that the US payment system is still very much based on checks for some reason. On the other hand, Europe (or at least, Scandinavian countries or at the very least Finland) has moved to a very different direction: Even though checks as such are recognised in Finland (there is even a specific law for them), I think currently no retailer will accept checks as payment. Instead, payment is cash, direct debit card or credit card.


Checks are alive and kicking here in France...Marseille at least (people accuse the Provençal people of being "different" from the rest...I don't think checks are the key point of difference). I do agree that checks enjoy slightly wider popularity in the US though.
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#23 Col

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 08:12

A cheque is still the preferred method of payment sent through the post, though. IME, a surprising number of eBay buyers in the UK prefer it to using PayPal, for example. And for large payments, such as a deposit on property or a car, the usual method is by banker's draft (not specifically relevant to the topic, since it's like a special, pre-printed cheque).

Edited by Col, 06 August 2007 - 08:14.

Col

#24 encephalartos

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 02:57

QUOTE(Sakura @ Aug 6 2007, 12:30 AM) View Post
QUOTE(Tojusi @ Aug 6 2007, 08:55 AM) View Post
These discussions always remind me that the US payment system is still very much based on checks for some reason. On the other hand, Europe (or at least, Scandinavian countries or at the very least Finland) has moved to a very different direction: Even though checks as such are recognised in Finland (there is even a specific law for them), I think currently no retailer will accept checks as payment. Instead, payment is cash, direct debit card or credit card.


Checks are alive and kicking here in France...Marseille at least (people accuse the Provençal people of being "different" from the rest...I don't think checks are the key point of difference). I do agree that checks enjoy slightly wider popularity in the US though.


In the USA, there isn't a law limiting your liability for fraudulent direct debits. So, if a debit card is stolen,
the law doesn't require a limit as there is if your credit card goes missing and then is reported. With a
debit card, the criminal can simply drain your account, and you have no protection. (Though mileage
MIGHT vary with particular banks, they can also change the fine print in the agreement on you next
month.)

NorwestInterstateMegabank has periodic campaigns to sign people up for debit cards. If you go in
and encounter a teller, they expect there to be a combination ATM and debit card for every account.
(This is not good bookkeeping practice for an account with two signers.) If you don't have one,
they try to sign you up, to which a snappy reply is:
"I don't need your debit card, I have real credit cards."

Without asking, they send replacement ATM & debit combo cards to replace previous "plain ATM" cards.
Then, to get the plain ATM card, it is necessary to talk to a phone customer "service" rep, and that
poor shlep's supervisor, while channeling one's inner evil twin. (They have all been to some
class on how to "delight" customers and mostly their speciality is apologizing, rather than completing
any mission.)

ninja.gif


#25 Izzy

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 11:00

Hi there

Have always used Blue or Black for cheque writing and will probably always do so.

Hve received a bottle of Diamine Registrar's Ink this morning and its perfect for writing cheques.

Kind regards
NIGEL
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#26 JohnS-MI

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 12:35

In the US, many merchants will accept a check in-store, but the ID requirements are a nuisance. Credit or debit cards are easier to use. But for items paid through the mail (especially the credit card bill from the above), a check is best. I have signed up for direct debit with some utilities to cut how many checks i write. But I am a little cautious about the "debit first, then dispute" mode. If I am disputing a bill I pay by check, I can pay everything but the disputed item and begin the discussion.

I use mostly mostly blue and black for checks, and would use Noodlers bulletproof black with someone I didn't entirely know and trust. For gift checks, I have used red and green at the holidays, but I use dark shades that scan well. The bank doesn't seem to care. I think the bank has the right to request a shade that gives sufficient contrast that both humans and machines can clearly "read" it. Other than that, I think there is no single "right" answer.