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What You Need To Print Your Own ChecksPrinting your own checks allows you to personalize the checks you use and avoid running out unexpectedly. It can also be cheaper than buying your checkbooks from the bank. But following common bank procedures might make printing your own payroll checks more trouble than it's worth. Get familiar with the process and supplies require to print your checks at home so you can decide if it is worth the trouble.
To print your own checks, you'll need:
- Software for check formatting
- A check printer
- Check stock paper—These papers contain security features that keep your checks from being altered or copied
- Magnetic ink
- Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR)
font to print the computer-friendly numbers at the bottom of each check
Check Printing SoftwarePrinting your own checks requires special graphic design skills, and the checks must be formatted just the right way. But check printing software does this work for you, and as an additional upside, the software is relatively inexpensive. You can further spread the cost out over a high volume of checks.
You may even already have what you need. Popular money management software programs such as Quicken and QuickBooks make it easy to create a paycheck payment, fill out the parts of a check, and print it. What's more, those programs will help you track payments by creating a record database in your ledger when you print the check.
Other alternative software vendors also can help you print your own checks. For example, the cloud-based accounting program Xero allows you to customize or personalize a check design and add bank information in MICR format, then print the check.
Check Stock PaperCheck stock paper is compatible with most check printing software and printers. It is specifically intended for printing checks and often has supplementary security features such as security warnings, microprinting, and watermarks. Some check stock also comes pre-perforated for ease in cutting.
You can find check stock paper at office supply stores or online retailers. it is relatively more expensive than regular paper due to the security features, but the peace of mind they guarantee can be worth the price.
A Printer (or Printing Company)You can print your own checks with almost any type of printer: inkjet, LaserJet, even offset printers. Some check printers have special features to enhance and boost the security of your checks, like watermarks and even thermochromic ink—but you can rely on any basic home- office printer, too. The only requirement is that the printer is effectively compatible with the magnetic ink used to print the MICR code.
You may consider contracting a check printing company to print the MICR code for you. Then you can just drop the pre-printed checks into your own office printer to add the payee, date, amount, and any memos. With this approach, you don't need to buy special ink or download the MICR font.
MICRYou'll type your bank information, including your account number and the routing number, in MICR font at the bottom of a check. This MICR code, or MICR line, is key to the character-reading technology used by the special computers that print checks. A bonus is that these characters can also be easily read by humans. Once the data is processed, the bank information is then converted to digital data and used in facilitating the transaction.
Magnetic InkMagnetic ink works in tandem with MICR technology, allowing computer software to read the MICR line even if it is partially obscured by other ink or markings on the check. However, for mobile check deposits, where consumers just take a picture of a check to make a deposit, there is no need for magnetic ink.
If you print your own checks without magnetic ink, but the check is passed through a magnetic reader, it will have to be further processed manually. That can result in additional fees for you or your payee. This also leads to a delay in transferring the money.
Once you have all the materials you need to print your own checks, you are ready to make a payment. If you are using accounting software, the program should automate most tasks for you. Otherwise, enter the date, amount, and every other information into the software as if you were writing a check by hand.