Originally issued by the USPS as an alternative to sending cash through the mail, money orders are now offered by many vendors as a means to pay bills. Companies that offer money orders include 7-11, QuikTrip, Cumberland Farms, Safeway, Western Union, MoneyGram, CVS, and Wal-Mart. According to the Federal Reserve, around 889 million money orders were purchased in the US in 2005.
Because money orders require that the funds be prepaid, they tend to be a more trusted method of payment than checks. US Postal Money Orders, in particular, are generally regarded as one of the most difficult financial documents to counterfeit. Distinct security features include watermarks, a microfiber security strip, varying inked patterns and tones, custom paper stock, tamper evident denomination amounts, and ultraviolet features.
But this high security comes at a price. Recognition software often struggles to get past the "noisy background" to accurately read the document's data. Consequently, read rates for money orders tend to be lower than standard checks, resulting in more data entry and exception handling for remittance processors.
RP Solutions has introduced a new Money Order Identification feature in its flagship remittance processing solution, ExpertRPS, which specifically identifies money orders allowing them to be processed more efficiently and with fewer errors. The system first examines the MICR line then uses Omni Font recognition to look for keywords and phrases that are unique to money orders. And with all the security features often making scanned money order images difficult to read, ExpertRPS optionally archives these images in greyscale format for greater clarity and readability, rather than in the standard bi-tonal image format.