MICR printers are very similar to ordinary LaserJet printers, but they have a few key modifications. Printers used to print checks and other financial documents must be equipped with an ANSI and ABA approved set of MICR fonts; having the correct fonts is critical for check printing, as the accuracy of these special MICR characters ensure the checks will be read by bank machines. In addition to MICR fonts, MICR-equipped printers use MICR ink, which come in cartridges identical in size and shape to standard LaserJet toner cartridges. Some printers, particularly those that have been manufactured specifically for check printing by suppliers such as Troy Group, may have additional security features such as locking trays. These extra features, however, are not necessary for printing high quality checks.
Ensure your LaserJet printer is MICR compatible
Before beginning the search for ABA approved MICR fonts and toner, check to make sure MICR toner can be found for your specific LaserJet printer model. Over 90% of LaserJet printers can print MICR toner. To check, browse MICR toner cartridge stores online to ensure a compatible MICR cartridge is available for your printer. Some MICR cartridge suppliers carry broader inventories than others, so be sure to browse a wide spectrum of suppliers.
Purchasing and installing MICR toner
MICR toner is sold by many suppliers, and pricing and available compatibility can range quite a bit. OEM cartridge suppliers – such as HP and Lexmark – tend to offer MICR ink at the highest price point, while aftermarket suppliers offer more competitive pricing. While it’s very possible to purchase high quality, effective toner at prices far below OEM costs, it’s important to make sure the MICR toner you purchase adheres to all ABA and ANSI standards, as well as OEM manufacturing quality guidelines.mOnce you have purchased MICR toner, these cartridges can be installed in your LaserJet printer the same way ordinary toner cartridges would be installed.
Downloading and calibrating MICR fonts
The key to successfully printing MICR using a standard LaserJet printer is to properly calibrate MICR fonts. MICR printers must print E-13B MICR characters, or CMC-7 characters, if the checks are to be used in certain countries in Europe and Asia. There are several online vendors who offer quality downloadable MICR fonts and installation instructions for E-13B MICR characters, so browse online for vendors offering the best consumer reviews. As with MICR toner, it’s important to make sure the MICR font set you purchase has been approved by the ABA and ANSI. Be sure to follow the font set’s calibration instructions to ensure the characters can be read by bank machines.
Using check printing software
Most bookkeeping software applications, such as Quickbooks, Peachtree and Lacerte, offer check printing capabilities built-in. If you don’t have one of these programs and only need check printing capabilities, a basic check printing software program would suffice. Read online reviews and compare different check printing software programs to find one which offers the best value and compatibility for your check printing needs.