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Mar 08 2024

What is security printing?

By Katie Horton and Julian Smith,

Security printing is a specialist field of print, that focuses on producing documents that contain additional features which reduce fraud by preventing counterfeiting or unauthorised copies of a document.

The concept is used to protect sensitive data, information and provide tamper-evident features that are only specific to an organisation.

Security print or security printing is the term often used to describe the printing of cheques, certificates, tickets, bank giro credits, pin-mailers, vouchers and secure documents.

The process varies from traditional print methods with security print specialists, innovative technology and industry accreditations required to produce these documents.

Whilst the concept of security printing has been around for many years, the features and capabilities that can be applied continue to evolve over time. With new specialist printing equipment being invented, new print techniques being finessed, and new features being developed security printing remains a vital engagement channel for many organisations.


Organisations who opt to use security print features, often fall within industries including financial institutions, examination boards, training providers, local authorities and event management.

These organisations send sensitive information which needs to be enhanced with security measures to remove the risk of duplicates being made. Utilising secure print enables these organisations to protect printed output and maintain the level of quality the document portrays and the positioning of the organisation.


There is a range of security features available through specialised providers, to transform printed documents into secure print products. These features can vary depending on the provider and their capabilities but there are some industry standards that you can expect when choosing the security print features you would like to utilise on your documents. These include:

  • Numbering
  • IRF (Image survivable features)
  • Embossing
  • Holograms
  • Foils
  • Laser etched die
  • UCN (unique control numbers)
  • Voids

These features can be supported with an array of specialist inks that work hand in hand to add that additional security element to your documents. These inks include:

  • Invisible fluorescent inks
  • Solvent and thermos-sensitive inks
  • UV inks
  • Magnetic ink character recognition
  • Fugitive inks

Secure print providers offer an accredited range of specialist papers and substrates that provide that additional security element for printed documents.

These are commonly produced on CBS1 or CBS2 which conform to Clearing Bank Specifications and can also include ultraviolet threads and watermarks which enhance verification systems, optical security features, and chemical sensitive.


Working with a range of different audiences, security print providers support organisations in the prevention of fraud and unauthorised copying of communications. The security print features and capabilities applied are versatile and can be added to a range of different documents. The most used are:

  • Personalised cheques
  • Security accreditations
  • Pin & activation codes
  • Secure documents
  • Banker drafts
  • Giro credit notes
  • Vouchers
  • Tickets
  • Integrated cards and labels
  • Bespoke integrated products

These documents signify importance and resemble the type of organisation in which they represent.


With a requirement to keep documents secure, there are only a few approved secure print providers who have the ability, knowledge and experience to produce security print products.

These suppliers will have the relevant accreditations including C&CCC, ISO 27001, ISO9001, Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus ensuring that you are given the best advice and peace of mind that you are sourcing the correct solution for your specific requirements.

One such supplier is CFH, which has been expertly developing and producing secure print documents for over 45 years. As secure print leaders, we have the right solutions, industry knowledge, print experts and expertise to help organisations produce documents with one or a range of security print features on them.

Why not find out more on how we can help you with your security print documents by visiting here or get in touch and one of our experts will be happy to help.

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