What is a Magnetic Ink Printer & What’s MICR Toner Used for?

Every business should have at least one printer that can handle MICR toner as it can be essential for printing important and private documents.

So, what is a magnetic ink printer? MICR is a type of printing and scanning that improves document security.

This type of toner is used for things that need to be printed safely and securely, with financial documents being the most common.

There are some differences between these and normal printers, and now that MICR printers are more affordable, they’re accessible for any business owner.

What Does MICR Stand for and What is it?

Checks have these specially printed numbers from MICR machines to get them secured.

MICR is an acronym for Magnetic Ink Character Recognition.

Essentially, it’s a type of printing and document reading technology used to improve security for various documents. 

Scanners equipped with MICR readers recognize this specialized ink.

Plus, documents are processed more securely and accurately than documents printed in conventional types of ink.

While the special characteristics are certainly a major component of what makes MICR ink unique, the printing also involves the use of a distinct font.

If you have ever wondered why the numbers at the bottom of a check have a strange look, it is because they are printed in MICR font.

What is Magnetic Ink Used For?

The most popular types of printers people use require inkjet or laser toner, but these types of toners do not offer any level of security.

Meanwhile, magnetic ink provides that additional layer of security.

While you can use magnetic ink to print any personal or business document, magnetic ink is commonly used in printing financial documents, particularly printing checks.

All checks in the United States will feature a line of unique numbers printed in magnetic ink.

This segment of a check is even known as the MICR line, and it has become an industry-standard set by the American Bankers Association (ABA).

This added layer of security helps protect individuals, businesses, and financial institutions from check fraud.

How Does Magnetic Ink Work?

The magnetic ink used in MICR printing is much easier for a computer or scanner to read than items printed in conventional ink.

In a way, it almost acts like a barcode that can be read instantaneously.

The fonts resemble conventional numbers, so humans can still decipher the printed characters.

But the main aim is quick recognition from a computer or scanner.

The ink creates a unique magnetic code because it contains a unique blend of iron oxide particles that become magnetically charged when the ink is printed.

When a MICR reader processes this ink, the machine reads the characters based on the magnetic properties of the ink, not the shape of the printed MICR characters.

Each character contains four separate magnetic charges (two positive and two negatives). The MICR reader then decodes the ink.

While these unique combinations of magnetic charges allow the MICR reader to detect what is written faster than if the ink was decoded visually, it also allows for a more secure reading, as it is much more difficult to fake.

When you look at a standard check, you will notice 40 characters written out in MICR font.

Since each character has four magnetic charges, the MICR reader must pass over 160 checkpoints before the check can be processed and approved.

This offers far more security than a simple series of numbers written out in standard ink.

What is a Magnetic Ink Printer?

White HP Printer
Magnetic Ink Printers add an extra layer of security to your documents.

You may assume that you need an expensive and specialized magnetic ink printer to print magnetic toner.

But the truth is, the technology has been around for so long that it is now fairly easy to print with magnetic ink.

Today, even small businesses can purchase a MICR printer and ink cartridges to add an extra layer of security and legitimacy to their printed documents.

HP, one of the world’s top printer manufacturers, actually sells an affordable MICR printer. Ricoh and a few other top brands do, too.

Where they used to cost thousands of dollars, it is now possible to purchase a high-quality Magnetic Ink Character Recognition Printer for around $300!

These printers use laser printing, which means they work extremely quickly.

Once you have purchased a MICR printer, you simply need to buy magnetic ink toner, which is also surprisingly budget-friendly.

If your business prints its own checks, you should invest in a check printer machine and magnetic toner.

You can also add MICR font to some of your important documents, as this can act as an additional security measure.

What’s the Difference Between MICR Toner and Regular Toner?

As mentioned above, MICR toner contains iron oxide particles.

During the printing process, the MICR printer will charge the iron oxide particles within the ink in the appropriate locations, so they can be instantly detected by a MICR reader.

On the other hand, regular toner dries on a page to be read by human eyes.

Most standard toners use granulated plastics, almost in the form of a powder.

When the printing drum charges the toner, it accurately transfers to the paper.

Do You Need a MICR Printer and MICR Toner?

If you want to have your document printed safely MICR ink is the best to use.
If you want to have your document printed safely MICR ink is the best to use.

If you print checks, you definitely should invest in a MICR printer and the appropriate toner.

However, this is not the only use for this type of printing.

It has also become common with medical prescriptions and other important documents, such as birth, marriage, and death certificates.

If printing any document where you would like added security, MICR printing can help.

A MICR reader can detect your documents, and the ink is difficult to scrub from documents.

MICR also adheres to paper better than regular toner from a conventional printer.

And, MICR helps to deter counterfeiters and fraudsters because MICR printing is difficult to replicate. There is a reason banks around the world rely upon it so heavily!

Given that MICR printers and MICR toner are both relatively affordable, MICR technology can be a very worthwhile investment for most businesses.