All About Magnetic Ink Cartridges

Even though the power of technology has taken quite a large chunk out of our printing needs, there is still an undeniable demand for the printing process, regardless. Whether it is for books, magazines, or mail, the need for quality printers and printing cartridges is still at the forefront of successful businesses. As consumers, we continue to see improvements in the printing industry, from faster printing options to smaller printers, and even eco-friendly cartridges to improve sustainability.

While there is a wide range of ink cartridges available on the market for general printing needs, there are a couple of other printing requirements of which you may not have heard. One style, in particular, is known as Magnetic Ink Character Recognition or MICR. For those who are unaware of this kind of printing option, consider the following information to learn more.

printer and computer on office table

What Is MICR?

Magnetic Ink Character Recognition is used specifically for the purpose of printing bank checks on blank stock. As opposed to the regular printing solutions you would get using a toner, the toner used for MICR has a high iron oxide content. The iron oxide is what allows the content to be read by special electronic bank processing equipment, and all bank check processing machines are built to read and verify MICR ink through magnetic reading capabilities.

When the information is unreadable, then a check’s information must be entered manually. To be more specific about what is being printed, MICR is what is used to print the oddly shaped numbers and letters at the bottom of checks. This is the information that you use or the bank uses to recognize information like the branch number, account numbers and check numbers.

Which Printers Can Use MICR Toner?

A range of printers have the ability to print check lines, so long as they are armed with the proper equipment. Whether you’re working with a standing printer or even a small in-home scanner, you have the ability to work with the specialized toner. There is a variety of printer manufacturers you might consider for the job, including HP, Canon and Lexmark.

In order to print with MICR toner, a printer must be equipped with check printing software, special MICR fonts, compatible MICR toner cartridges and blank check paper.

closeup of color cartridges in printer

Why Are Magnetic Ink Cartridges So Unique?

There are certainly some more specific needs when it comes to MICR toners. For example, this kind of toner needs to be formulated for each printer engine. Manufacturers who aren’t experiencing a high level of demand for this type of toner likely won’t have specific designs manufactured to allow the printer engine to facilitate the MICR toner.

The HP printer is one of the most commonly used printers when it comes to MICR toners, as they continue to hold the largest market share. As a result, MICR toners are available for almost all HP laser printer models, so any employers, corporations, and small businesses who need to print checks for their employees can easily complete this process.

Although magnetic ink character recognition was not always quite as readily available for the masses, now that such a wide variety of standardized printers come with the required equipment, more people can print checks from the comfort of their own home or office. This makes it exceptionally easier to cut time and costs down, simply by being able to make the investment for the equipment once and being able to use it for thousands of future checks.

computer and printer on office desk


For those businesses or individuals who want to have the ability to print their own checks without missing out on a high level of protection, magnetic ink cartridges are the solution. Luckily, many of the printers on the market today, especially HP, can be armed with the necessary equipment to use MICR toners.

Even if you’re not familiar with the process of installing MICR toners into your computer, there is a simple checklist for MICR toner installation that you can refer to. If you need direction, be sure to talk to a professional before installing the toner and to ensure that you printer model is capable of using the toner ahead of time. Older brands may not have the ability, and it might be smarter to invest in a newer printer model that will have the ability to print the checks properly without a hitch.