Blanque Cheque

It's code drop time!

Both in the sense of new things in the world but also deprecation of old nastiness. I'm happy to let folks know that has been “Blanque Cheque” rebuilt.

https://brianredbeard.com/projects/tools/blanque_cheque/

Blanque Check stemmed from shitty corporate payroll companies who insisted on having sending them a check to setup payroll. In 2009 this chapped my hide a bit so I began looking into this.

Fortunately, the memory of the Internet is long. I was able to find a multi-part blog series that I got quite a chuckle out of back in the day (and was one of the inspirations for blanque cheque). While his original blog(s) no longer exist

I highly suggest you read it:

But… I digress.

After doing some basic research a decade ago I learned that there aren't really standards for personal checks in the United States. In 2004 the Federal Reserve allowed for banks to perform digitization of checks. This allowed a bank of destroy the original check and keep an electronic copy. Now, if you wrote a bad check and it bounced they'll “return” what's called a “substitute” check. What is a substitute? Basically a printed copy of the image with the magnetic (MICR) printing on it.

Now, of course we need to throw out the important caveat here:

I'm not a lawyer

Do not confuse my armchair assessment with real legal advice. That being said in my assessment the only real law one could run afoul of is fraud (which makes sense… check fraud is a non-trivial issue). The trouble is fraud is the generation of gain through intentionally deceptive acts. As someone who didn't own a checkbook, I wasn't about to purchase checks I didn't need just to receive my paycheck. That's bananas.

Writing some code

Thus, this tool was born. The original was a mess of PHP. The new one is a mess of Javascript and CSS. Is it well written? Absolutely not. Will it get the job done? It has for me more than once.

Interesting follow-up

In the process of putting this together it turns out Patrick Combs (the author of the blog posts) has continued his career as a professional speaker focused on customer service/customer care. In the past couple of years he even published a recording.