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What do you need to use a MICR font?

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There's more involved in printing your own blank security checks than meets the eye. At first glance, it may seem as though all you need to do is buy blank check stocks and set up QuickBooks. However, if you intend to use blank security checks that have not been preprinted with your bank's routing number and your account number, you will need to incorporate a special magnetic font known as the MICR font.

The MICR font serves to identify checks both visually and electronically. Its characters, when printed using magnetic ink, can be read both by the human eye and by electronic check readers. The characters of the MICR font have a distinctive "blocky" look. The MICR font is generally used for printing bank account numbers and routing numbers. Unlike barcodes, the MICR font can be understood by computers and people. Though blocky, the characters 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 are readily apparent. It's the magnetic ink that makes the MICR font unique. When printed with magnetic ink, these characters can be "read" by electronic check processing equipment.

This is why most blank checks must be ordered with the routing and account numbers preprinted on the check stock. In general, you can't just print a check on a blank piece of paper as your office printer most likely does not have a magnetic ink cartridge. This doesn't mean that printing your own checks isn't possible. In fact, many companies use magnetic HP Laserjet print cartridges, specialized check writing software and high security blank check paper to do so.

If your company writes a large amount of checks, you can do the same. Doing so can reduce your risk of check fraud in a cost effective manner. Here's what you need to get started with the MICR Font:

  • Magnetic ink cartridges - MICR-compatible HP Laserjet print cartridges are available for many popular HP laser printers. Using magnetic ink is essential in ensuring that the bank can read and process your checks.
  • Check writing software that supports the MICR font - You will also need check writing software that supports the MICR font. After all, the software needs to create routing and account numbers that both machines and humans can read.
  • Security check paper - Since you have check writing software and HP Laserjet print cartridges cable of generating an official MICR font, there's no need to invest in preprinted checks. However, you do need paper to print your checks on. While you could use standard check paper, it's smarter to spend a little more on check paper with advanced security features embedded within. Watermarks, colored threads, high resolution borders, hidden images that become visible when copied or scanned, and chemical treatments to prevent "washing" are but a few of the many security options available.

Once you've gathered the necessary tools and supplies, you can begin printing your own secure checks as needed. Not only can the security features embedded in your check stock prevent check fraud, the fact that you don't have to order or store blank checks adds another layer of protection.

Corey Rogan is an expert in the IT industry and works as a consultant for various companies. He has experience working with clients who are seeking for reliable check printing software and he highly recommends Troy Group MICR fonts for printing your own checks. Feel free to contact him over at Google+ for questions or more information.

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