Do I Need to Use MICR Toner When Printing Checks?
By Nick Davis
Printing your own company checks not only saves your business money but also enables you to add your company logo, personalized slogan or tag line to each check and/or check stub. For banks to process your company checks, you must use Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) toner or ink in your printer instead of standard ink. MICR toner and ink contain magnetic particles that encode your company's bank account and routing numbers within special numbers and symbols at the bottom of each check as well as your digitized signature.
Failure to Use
If you don't use MICR toner or ink when printing checks, your bank will not process the check and you could incur a service fee for each rejected check. MICR toner and ink enable banks to process checks automatically using a scanning device that reads bank account information on the check without any human intervention. Standard ink is not capable of encoding your banking account information or signature.
You can use MICR toner and ink on a variety of check stock, including plain white, colored, security stock and check stock that is heavier than 20 lbs. You can also purchase check stock that already contains your banking information encoded onto each check. This bank stock eliminates having to purchase and use MICR toner or ink. Preprinted check stock is available from Ganson Engineering, SecureChecks and IPS as well as other check stock companies.
Ink and Toner
MICR toner is available for a variety of laser printer models, including HP, Ricoh, Lexmark, Canon and Sharp. MICR ink is also available for a variety of inkjet printers, including Epson, Brother and Lexmark. The toner or ink is packaged in a cartridge that loads into your printer like any standard cartridge and doesn't require any modification of your printer's toner carrier or ink cartridge carriage.
MICR toner and ink are available from OfficeMax, Office Depot, Staples and similar office supply stores via the stores' special order departments. The toner and ink are also available from the Troy Group Inc., MICR Toner USA and MICR Toner International as well as other MICR toner and ink resellers and manufacturers. The toner and ink are only designed for check printing. Remove the cartridge after printing your checks or designate one printer just for check printing to eliminate wasting your MICR toner or ink.
Nick Davis is a freelance writer specializing in technical, travel and entertainment articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and an associate degree in computer information systems from the State Technical Institute at Memphis. His work has appeared in "Elite Memphis" and "The Daily Helmsman" in Memphis, Tenn. He is currently living in Albuquerque, N.M.