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Basics on Printing Checks and MICR Toner
More Check Printing Tips
About MICR Toner Cartridges
Troubleshooting - Print Quality Issues

Basics on Printing Checks and MICR Toner

Q: Can I use my laser printer to Print my own Checks?

A: Absolutely! Did you know that all you need to print your own checks is...

1) A HP, Dell, Lexmark, Canon, or IBM laser printer. (not a color laserjet)
2) A MICR Toner cartridge made for your model of laser printer.
3) Blank check paper.
4) MICR Fonts.

That's It! Your ready to print. Any monochrome laser printer can be used to print checks. (but not color laserjets) Do a search in the search box to find the MICR cartridge for your model of printer. Or, you can browse by brand by clicking on one of the logos above.

Q: What is MICR Toner?
A: MICR is an acronym for Magnetic Ink Character Recognition. MICR toner is a specialized type of printing for encoding, reading, and sorting checks and deposit slips.

The MICR cartridge characters are most easily recognized as the series of numbers located at the bottom of a check that banks use to route and process payments. Using special toner, each font character is magnetically charged and read by high-speed machines, which convert the MICR into digital data. Each check that is deposited is read and sorted multiple times by these high-speed machines, so the dependability of the MICR toner is critical to the efficiency of the process. You can learn all about MICR Ink here.

Q: Why buy your MICR Toner from us?
A: There are many good reasons...

Since we manufacture the MICR toner cartridges ourselves, we pass the savings on directly to our customers. The end result is we are able to provide you with a high quality MICR cartridge that few in the industry can compete with. Our price will entice you to buy our high quality MICR cartridges and our customer service will bring you back for more!

Also, since we guarantee your purchase 100% against any defects for one full year, you can make your MICR toner cartridge purchase with confidence from HP MICR Cartridge. We even offer a 30-day no questions asked guarantee in the event you change your mind for any reason! Click on
Return Policy to see the details of our guarantee.

We invite you to call us toll free at 800-260-9809 from 8:00am to 4:00pm Central time anytime for assistance in placing your online order, or give us a call if you need any answers to help you in making your buying decision. We love to help!

More Check Printing Tips

Q: Do you have any tips for printing checks?
A: Yes, here are some simple suggestions for printing laser checks:

  • Always have a backup MICR toner cartridge available so you won't have any downtime if you unexpectedly run out of toner or have a problem with the cartridge.

  • Store toner cartridges in a cool, dark place in their foil bag and box to protect them from light and moisture. Make sure they are stored horizontally, not on end.

  • Keep your laser printer clean. Paper dust and toner particles can accumulate inside the machine and adversely affect print quality. Every time you change your toner cartridge, use a clean, slightly damp cloth (or a special toner pick-up cloth) to wipe up any residual grime. Consider investing in a minivac (one with a 10-micron filter) to get your printer really clean.

  • Many laser printers offer an economy print mode. If the printer is set for this mode, the print density may be too light and the magnetic signal strength will not meet the minimum standards. Use the printer panel or printer set-up software to change to normal print mode.

  • To extend the toner cartridge's life, periodically remove it and rock it gently from side to side a few times while holding it horizontally. This distributes the toner resin more evenly and may help your pages print more uniformly.

  • Always examine the first few checks in a new check run, especially after adding or modifying bank account data or changing laser printers. Verify the E-13B font and numbers are correct and printing in the proper location.

  • Look at the MICR clear band (the bottom 5/8 inch) of the check. Make certain it doesn't contain anything printed in MICR toner other than the E-13B MICR characters. Sometimes a portion of a laser printed signature or a graphics line or text from a lower stub will be inadvertently printed within the clear band. This can make the MICR line unreadable by reader/sorter machines. To correct this it may be necessary to modify the print location of the offending characters or graphics.

MICR Toner Cartridges

Q: Why use MICR Toner? Do I really need to use MICR toner to print checks?
A: Yes, if you want to minimize the possibility of additional bank charges:

  • Although there is no law requiring magnetic ink, banks have the legal right to refuse to process checks, drafts, or deposit slips that are not printed with magnetic ink (toner). Banks use high-speed reader/sorter machines to process checks. These machines recognize the E-13B characters printed on the bottom (MICR) line of checks by their magnetic pattern, optical pattern, or a combination of both. Checks that cannot be read by these machines are rejected and must be manually re-encoded, usually with a narrow "repair tape" attached to the bottom of the check. Most banks charge a fee for this service when a large number of checks from an account holder are rejected. Another disadvantage of not using MICR toner is that your bank statements may be missing check numbers, making them harder to reconcile.

Q: Can I use MICR toner to print everything?
A: Yes, MICR toner is excellent for printing text and graphics as well as checks:

  • By keeping the magnetic toner cartridge in the printer and not swapping it with a non-magnetic cartridge you decrease the possibility of accidentally printing checks with the wrong toner. It also reduces wear and tear on the printer.

Q: How can I find out which of your MICR toner cartridges is compatible with my printer?
A: Do a search by the model number of your printer (such as HP 1200) or by your part number (such as C7115X):

  • You may also browse by the category namebrand and find the Hewlett Packard, Lexmark, IBM, or Dell model which you think is compatible. Click on the "Item Name" or "Picture", which will bring you to a description of the cartridge and a comprehensive list of compatible printers from different manufacturers, if any. While we have attempted to be as thorough as possible, it is possible that some compatible models are not listed. Please contact our technical support if you need further assistance at 1-800-260-9809.

Q: Are magnetic ink cartridges or MICR ink cartridges available for my inkjet printer?
A: No, we are not aware of any magnetic ink jet cartridges currently on the market:

  • Because of the wide variation of ink absorption with different papers, it is unlikely that an acceptable formula will be found that is capable of producing a consistent quality magnetic signal. Also, most ink is made of up water-based components or pigmented ink, not the iron ore found in MICR toner cartridges.

Q: Are MICR toner cartridges available for my color laserjet printer?
A: No, we are not aware of any MICR cartridges currently on the market made for color laserjet printers:

  • Because of the chemical makeup of the toner for the color laserjet printers, it is unlikely that an acceptable formula will be found that is capable of producing a consistent quality magnetic signal. Also, most color laserjet toner (even the black) is made of up a synthetic components or chemicals, not the iron ore found in MICR toner cartridges.

Troubleshooting - Print Quality Issues

Q: I just put a new toner cartridge in my printer but the pages are coming out blank, why?
A: There may be a shipping seal in your toner cartridge which must be removed in order for the cartridge to function properly:

  • Follow your printer's instructions for installing a new cartridge, or look in the printer user manual.

Q: How long can I continue to print checks after the "Toner Low" message comes on the printer?
A: When your printer displays the "Toner Low" message, we advise that you do not use the cartridge to print anymore checks:

  • The printed MICR characters may not contain enough magnetic ink to be properly recognized by the bank's reader/sorter equipment. Since there is probably still some toner left in the cartridge, you may continue to use it to print other, less critical, types of documents. Also, if you have this message on a cartridge that you just installed for the first use, it could read a "Toner Low" message if there isn't a computer chip on the cartridge.

Q: Why are there vertical white streaks or faded areas on the page?
A: This usually indicates that the cartridge is almost out of toner or your density setting is too light:

  • Check the printer User's Manual for instructions on how to adjust the print density. You can also remove the cartridge and gently rock it from side to side several times to evenly distribute the toner and replace it in the printer.

Q: My document is printing very light, why?
A: There may be a shipping seal in your toner cartridge which must be removed in order for the cartridge to function properly, or
if you have been using the cartridge, the cartridge may almost be out of toner or your density setting is too light:

  • Check the printer User's Manual for instructions on how to adjust the print density or how to remove the shipping seal. You can also remove the cartridge and gently rock it from side to side several times to evenly distribute the toner and replace it in the printer if it is almost out of toner.

Q: I am getting a gray shading on my document, or the page looks "dirty", what is this from?
It is possible that your density setting is too dark or excess toner has built up inside the printer and is ready for cleaning:

  • Excessively high or low humidity levels in the office environment can also cause this gray backgrounding, particularly during Winter months with the LaserJet 3Si or 4Si printer. MICR toner is more electro-conductively sensitive than standard toner and the excessively low humidity that occurs from heaters drying the office air during the Winter season increases the amount of static electricity, which causes more toner to adhere to the drum creating the gray backgrounding on the paper. Most laser printers' environmental specifications for relative humidity are between 20% and 80% for printing operations. Some offices have solved the problem by placing a humidifier in the area of the printer. Newer model printers also seem less susceptible to the humidity problem.

Q: I am getting a spot repeating continuously, what is this from?
You might have one of the following:

  • A piece of lint or foreign object on the drum. Remove the cartridge, pull back the drum cover and rotate the drum by turning the gears until you see the spot. Be careful not to touch the drum with your fingertips. Gently wipe the drum with a clean paper towel where the spot is. Reinstall the cartridge and see if the spot goes away.