This is an image of an IRD – Image Replacement Document. It is also called a Substitute Check and it is the legal equivalent of an original check. Since the passing of Check 21 legislation in response to 9/11, banks began clearing checks with IRDs. This is not an electronic transaction per se but rather it is the actual sending of images through the clearing system. These documents can easily be originated by you as a business owner if you subscribe to Remote Deposit Capture.
This service is available from your bank for a fee, typically anywhere from $35 to $70 per month. You may also pay a small fee per item and perhaps a set-up fee. This service also requires the use of a scanner which you typically purchase up front. Some banks may provide them for free, but if you end up changing banks, they will come looking for it. More often than not, you will be buying a scanner. Expect the cost of the scanner to run around $300 for a single-feed (one check at a time) on up into the $500-$900 range for a multi-feed scanner (a stack of checks can be loaded at one time).
Most of the larger banks will drop ship the scanner to you with a set of instructions in the box along with an 800 #. Community banks will usually bring the scanner to you, install it, and train you on how to use it. The service is quite easy to use and saves you a ton of time. It will extend your banking day beyond the typical 2 pm cut-off time, usually until around 5:00-5:30 pm.
If you are not currently using this service, seriously consider it. Despite the upfront fees and ongoing maintenance costs, it is very easy to cost-justify. Your banker should be able to help and provide you with a cost-benefit analysis.