Many businesses have discovered that it's far more convenient and less expensive to print their own business checks. In order to be processed by a bank or financial institution, however, the checks' routing numbers and the company's bank account must be printed using MICR toner. This toner is magnetically enhanced and must be used to print authentic checks. Only a certain area of the printed check must be printed with MICR toner. Checks must also feature the font designated by the Federal Reserve for routing and account information to be valid.
Buying and Using MICR Toner
MICR toner can be purchased from online stores or other venues that specialize in selling printers and this type of toner. Many businesses that print their own checks designate a single printer loaded with MICR toner for check printing. Otherwise, a business wastes this specialized toner if they print items other than checks. Of course, the cartridge can simply be switched when checks need to be printed. It's essential to use MICR toner as checks will not be valid without it and is “a way to help prevent fraudulent alteration of documents” (1). Banks will not process checks without MICR toner and they may even charge a fee for having to reject invalid checks.
The Benefits of Printing Your Own Checks
Many businesses find it convenient to print their own checks. They can print the amounts of checks they need as soon as they need them. They can also save money on printing costs by printing their own check stock. In addition, businesses like to print their own checks so they can customize them with their logo. So long as the check conforms to legal requirements (i.e. MICR toner), it can be processed by banks.
More Information about MICR Toner
MICR toner can be applied to plain white check stock or colored checks. It will also work on check paper enhanced with security features like watermarks. MICR toner works with a wide array of laser printers including popular models from brands like HP, Lexmark, Ricoh, and Canon (2). Because this toner is easy to procure and easy to use, many businesses make it a rule of thumb to keep it on hand for check printing. For businesses that use a lot of checks, this is an economical route to go. Even if you don’t need to print checks in bulk, “you can swap the regular toner cartridge in a printer that produces regular office output with the specialized cartridge that contains magnetic toner to imprint small batches of checks when you need them” (3).
Some businesses have opted to choose MICR toner with secure features. For instance, if someone tries to alter the routing number or account chemically, the printed check toner changes to red. Check fraud continues to be a significant problem faced by financial institutions and businesses. Security features like this help to decrease the potential for fraud.
Obtaining and using MICR toner is easy and convenient. Many businesses find that printing their own checks is the only way to go. They can avoid waiting weeks for needed checks to be printed and can securely print and design their own checks for use. If you have additional questions about using MICR toner, your toner vendor will be able to discuss your questions and concerns in depth. They can also advise you about other important aspects of proper check printing.
1. "MICR Toner", TROY Group, http://www.troygroup.com/products/toner/micr_toner.aspx
2. "Do I Need to Use MICR Toner When Printing Checks?", azcentral.com, http://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/need-use-micr-toner-printing-checks-22378.html
3. "Four Main Reasons for Using MICR Toner in Printing Checks", Chron Small Business, http://smallbusiness.chron.com/four-main-reasons-using-micr-toner-printing-checks-70441.html