If you need to print checks for personal or business needs, you will have to get the right printer for the job. By now, you should already be aware that checks cannot and should not be printed by any printer out there.
Unfortunately, the regular laser printer is not enough for printing checks. Instead, MICR is the best option. Specifically, the American Bankers Association (ABA) made MICR the standard printer for checks. The main reason for this is that MICR uses the most advanced technology. But that’s not all. There is a reason for using this type of printer for checks.
Why Use MICR For Printing Checks?
The Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) is a special toner that is usually used to print the font at the bottom of checks. Plus, it can be used to print other negotiable documents. Also, the Federal Reserve stated that checks must be printed with MICR toner to enhance easy processing. Suppose checks were to be printed with the regular toner or remanufactured cartridges, there will be a high check rejection risk. This will then cost an institution time and money in the end.
The MICR prints the bank’s route number, the check number, as well as the customer account number. Furthermore, the Stanford Research Institute suggested the use of the MICR line as a standard for tracking all American checks.
So, why is a MICR printer used for checks? Here’s why:
- It Prevents Fraud
Typically, an MICR toner will have 50% to 60% iron oxide, which is not the same as other toners. The high percentage of iron oxide in MICR toners is meant to meet the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards. This is a universal standard for every American bank and financial institution. In case a bank receives a check that doesn’t have the ANSI standards, it will carry on investigations for possible fraud.
Generally, the iron oxide percentage in MICR toners helps to reduce the common check fraud. Luckily, the iron oxide percentage in checks can be determined by a magnetic reader. That is why it is easy for a bank to notice if the check is printed with a MICR printer or not.
- Identify Incorrect Iron Oxide Levels
Usually, an MICR toner will come with a blend of ink, lubricants, plastic powder, enhancers, as well as iron oxide. That iron oxide found in the toner will generate a magnetic signal whenever the cashier scans the check. Suppose the machine reader rejects the scanned check, it won’t be cashed. As a result, the originating bank will be contacted for further inquiry.
Suppose the originating bank happens to use a substandard MICR toner that doesn’t meet the ANSI standards, it might be fined. On the other hand, the originating bank can stretch the fine to the customers due to the high fees of service.
So, a MICR helps to know if the iron oxide levels are correct and if the originating bank used the right toner based on the ANSI standards.
- Minimizes the Errors
Checks printed by a MICR printer are less likely to have errors compare to those printed by laser printers. A MICR scanner will accurately decode the characters as long as they follow the ABA and ANSI standards. This way, it helps to save time and effort to fix those errors on the check.
One out of 20,000 checks processed by a MICR scanner will have an error. It is not the same for checks processed by laser scanners.
- Confidentiality/Security Advantage
Another benefit of using a MICR printer is that it grants you a security advantage. You will be sure of keeping your confidential information safe. Initially, Magnetic Ink Character Recognition machines print checks with a toner. They don’t use ink to print checks as it was in the past.
When a toner is used to print checks, there is a significant MICR line security benefit. If the banking or company information is altered, an MICR toner can be used to print new checks in-house. A bank or financial institution won’t have to send their checks via a specialty house. In the long run, it will limit the number of people that have access to confidential bank information. All in all, it helps to limit the cases of fraud.
Choosing the Right Printer For Your Checks
When choosing the best printer for printing checks, you will need to put some factor into consideration. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind when finding a check printer:
- Consider the printing quality
The printing quality should always be your number one priority. If you choose a bad quality printer, the check will look unprofessional, which can ruin your brand image and reputation. Consider the quality of the printed text before you buy a printer.
Today, printers can be connected to any device. It’s not a must that you should always print your checks from the computer. The information might be from a different device. For that, consider the connectivity of the printer and ensure that it can be connected to multiple devices.
- Paper handling
One thing you should always keep in mind is that the paper for printing checks is not cheap. Plus, it is only supplied from the bank. Your bank will not give you an unlimited supply of the paper. That is why you need to be careful when handling your checks with the printer. It should not jam when handling the paper because this will be a waste in many instances. Ensure that the machine handles the paper professionally and economically.
- Page orientation setup
When printing checks, you must always consider the page orientation setup. The paper size of the checks will always be different from other printing materials. The printer should give you enough option to customize your page size and orientation for the check. In most cases, the printers for checks will come with settings for physical arrangement in the paper tray. The page orientation options are found in the software settings too.
Don’t forget to go for a reputable brand for the MICR printer. Above all, choose a printer that can serve you for a long time.