MICR, an acronym which stands for Magnetic Ink Character Recognition, is a specialized type of ink toner which is used to print and validate checks. Standardized banking equipment used in banks around the world read MICR toner ink authenticate and read essential check data, making MICR printing an essential part of the check printing process. MICR toner is used by check printing companies, banks and small businesses that choose to cut costs by printing their checks in-house.
When and why is MICR necessary?
Every check has a small “MICR line” printed at the bottom. This line is composed of numbers and specialized characters and contains the check’s account number, routing number and check number – all of the check’s most sensitive data. In order to protect against fraud, this MICR line must be printed using MICR, which is magnetic. Tiny particles of iron oxide contained in MICR ink allow special characters to be read by bank check processing machines.
To make check processing easier and more secure, the banking industry has standardized the use of MICR technology in check processing, so all checks must be printed with magnetic ink in order to be considered valid. Checks printed improperly or without toner are usually rejected and returned to the issuer, often along with a processing error fee.
Who uses MICR ink?
All check printing companies and banks use printers specially equipped with MICR toner to print valid checks, but some individual businesses use MICR to print their own checks as well. Most standard office laserjet printers may be equipped to print check MICR lines, and most bookkeeping software applications make it easy for small businesses to make check printing a part of doing payroll.
What equipment do you need to print MICR?
While most types of office printers can be equipped to print MICR lines, standard printers require some additional equipment. To print MICR, printers need check printing software (often included in bookkeeping software), MICR fonts, special check paper and the ink cartridges themselves. Because some specialized installation of these components is required, most offices that print checks in-house use printers dedicated to MICR printing only.
Where can MICR toner ink be purchased?
MICR ink is a very specialized office supply, but as its use in small business settings becomes more common, it’s become more widely available. Most printer manufacturers that make MICR compatible printers sell MICR toner compatible with their printer models.These OEM (original equipment manufacturer) MICR cartridges are recommended by most printer manufacturers, although many aftermarket cartridge manufacturers make refurbished and new cartridges of quality equal or better than the OEM cartridges themselves. Most aftermarket MICR cartridges are sold online. Researching a MICR cartridge manufacturer’s quality standards, testimonials and prices is the best way to determine which vendor is right for you.