What is MICR?

Friday, May 5th, 2023 | MICR Toner and Check Printing | No Comments

Everything you wanted to know about MICR technology.

We at Advantage Laser Products are jumping on the AI bandwagon and doing some Q&A with copy.ai for a few blog posts. The resulting answers to our questions are remarkably accurate and informative. In this post we will try to extract every bit of information that our friendly AI can scrape off the internet regarding MICR and check printing.

ALP: What is MICR technology?

AI: Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) technology is a type of technology that uses magnetic ink to encode and read information on documents. It is commonly used in the banking industry to process checks and other financial documents.

The history of MICR technology dates back to the early 1950s when the American Bankers Association (ABA) recognized the need for a standardized system to process checks. Prior to this, check processing was a manual and time-consuming process that was prone to errors and fraud. The ABA formed a committee to develop a standardized system that could be used by banks across the United States.

The MICR system was developed by this committee and was first introduced in the late 1950s. It used magnetic ink to encode information on checks and other financial documents, making it possible to process them quickly and accurately using machines. The system was an instant success and quickly became the standard for check processing in the banking industry.

MICR technology works by printing information on a document using magnetic ink. The ink contains small particles of magnetic material that can be read by special machines. The information printed using MICR technology typically includes the bank routing number, the account number, and the check number.

The machine used to read MICR information is called a MICR reader. It works by using a magnetic field to read the magnetic particles in the ink. The information is then converted into digital data that can be processed by a computer.

One of the primary advantages of MICR technology is its accuracy. Because the information is printed using magnetic ink, it is less likely to be misread or misinterpreted than information that is printed using standard ink. This can help to reduce errors and improve the efficiency of document processing.

Another advantage of MICR technology is its security. Because the information is printed using magnetic ink, it is more difficult to alter or forge than information that is printed using standard ink. This can help to prevent fraud and protect sensitive financial information.

MICR technology has become a standard in the banking industry and is also used in other industries, such as healthcare and transportation, where accurate and secure data processing is important.

MICR technology is used for check processing in the banking industry. When a check is processed, the information printed using MICR technology is read by a MICR reader. The reader captures the information and sends it to a computer for processing. The computer uses the information to verify that the check is valid and that the funds are available in the account. If the check is valid and the funds are available, the transaction is processed and the funds are transferred from the account of the person or company that wrote the check to the account of the person or company that is receiving the funds.

One potential disadvantage of MICR technology is its cost. Because it requires special ink and specialized equipment, it can be more expensive than other types of printing technology. However, the benefits of increased accuracy and security may outweigh the additional cost in many cases.

MICR technology has evolved over the years to become more efficient and secure. For example, new MICR fonts have been developed that are easier to read by machines and are more resistant to fraud. In addition, new security features have been added to MICR technology to prevent counterfeiting and other forms of fraud.

In recent years, there has been a shift away from paper-based check processing and towards electronic payment systems. However, MICR technology remains an important part of the banking industry and will likely continue to be used for many years to come.

In conclusion, MICR technology is a reliable and secure way to process financial and other sensitive documents. Its accuracy and security make it an essential technology for the banking industry and other industries that rely on accurate and secure data processing. Despite the shift towards electronic payment systems, MICR technology will likely continue to be used for check processing and other applications for many years to come.

ALP: Why is it important that I use MICR toner?

AI: It is important to use MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) toner while printing checks to prevent check fraud. Deviations from the standard can make the check unreadable by the bank’s automated sorters, which can result in delays and additional fees. Additionally, strict adherence to the standards of the MICR ink and the position of the MICR line on a check document helps assure quality. Using MICR, checks can be examined more closely for fraud and tampering, as the unique combination of characters produced by MICR toner and the E-13B specialized MICR font make it challenging to alter checks. The Federal Reserve requires checks to be printed with MICR toner for ease of processing.

Therefore, it is critical to use MICR toner while printing checks to reduce the risk of check fraud.

ALP: Is MICR still necessary?

AI: Yes, Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) is still necessary because it is a technology used primarily to identify and process checks, and it plays a crucial role in the processing of checks by banks and financial institutions. The MICR line facilitates the use of routing numbers, detects and prevents fraud, and ensures the ease of processing checks.1 The Federal Reserve requires that checks be printed with MICR toner for ease of processing, and businesses should use MICR solutions anytime they need to print off secure checks.2 Additionally, MICR technology can be used beyond checks and can be utilized on other important documents to prevent fraud and ensure accuracy in document processing.3

ALP: What happens if I print checks without MICR encoding?

AI: If you print checks without MICR encoding, the checks will not meet banking standards, and they could be rejected by a bank. In addition, printed checks without security features are vulnerable to fraud and can put your organization at risk of financial harm. Therefore, it is recommended that organizations still need MICR printers, especially in 2023.

ALP: What is MICR toner made of?

AI: MICR toner is similar to standard laser printer toner, but it includes an iron oxide additive. It’s this additive that allows for electronic processing and ensures compliance with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specifications for readability.

ALP: Why is MICR toner more expensive than regular toner?

AI: MICR toner is more expensive than regular toner because it requires a unique iron oxide additive that allows for electronic processing and ensures compliance with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specifications for readability when printing checks. This iron oxide additive is not found in regular toner, and the additional manufacturing process and quality control measures required to produce MICR toner cartridges add to the cost.

ALP: Who invented MICR technology?

AI: The Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) technology was developed in the mid-1950s by a team of researchers from the Stanford Research Institute and General Electric Computer Laboratory.

ALP: Does MICR Toner taste good?

AI: As an AI language model, I don’t have the ability to taste or consume anything. However, it’s important to note that toner, including MICR toner, is not intended for consumption and can be harmful if ingested. It’s critical to follow proper safety precautions when handling toner cartridges to avoid exposure to the toner particles and to prevent any accidental ingestion.

ALP: What else can MICR toner be used for?

AI: MICR toner is mainly used for printing checks and other financial documents that require high security. According to 1ink.com, MICR toner is specially designed to work with a specialized MICR font known as E-13B to produce a unique combination of characters on checks, reducing the risk of fraud during the check-processing period. However, there is no evidence to suggest that MICR toner has any other uses beyond check printing.

ALP: Can liquid ink include MICR?

AI: Liquid ink is generally not used to create MICR lines on checks due to the risk of smudging and the potential to cause errors in the automated processing of checks. Instead, magnetic ink or toner is used to print the MICR line on a check.[1] Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) technology uses a special type of ink that is magnetic and highly sensitive to magnetic fields. This allows for the characters on a check to be encrypted with magnetic ink and read by machines that are capable of capturing the magnetic information. [4] Therefore, it is not recommended to use liquid ink for MICR lines in order to ensure the accurate processing of checks.

ALP: What is the proper pronunciation of MICR?

AI: The proper pronunciation of MICR is “my-ker”.




  1. https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/wealth-management/magnetic-ink-character-recognition-micr-line/
  2. https://www.hague-group.com/what-is-magnetic-ink-character-recognition-micr/

Advantage Laser Products in Atlanta Georgia has been manufacturing high quality MICR toner for over 30 years. Please visit our website for an outstanding selection of new modified and remanufactured MICR toner options. https://www.advlaser.com/MICR-Toner-Cartridges-for-Check-Printing-s/1.htm If you have questions please do not hesitate to call our subject matter experts at 800-722-2804. We are happy to point you in the right direction.

Don’t want to deal with MICR encoding? Check out our pre-printed checks with MICR encoding already done for you.


MICR – New HP LaserJet Pro 4001 Printer in R&D

Thursday, August 4th, 2022 | MICR Toner and Check Printing | No Comments

HP just released the new HP LaserJet Pro 4001 printer. We already have one in R&D and are testing a new formulation of MICR toner for the 4001 printer. So far it’s looking great. We hope to have a W1480A MICR toner cartridge for the LaserJet 4001 series by September 1st.

MICR Toner for HP LaserJet Pro 4001 in R&D

The 4001 series replaces the M404 series of LaserJet printers. The printers are remarkably similar and the 4001 prints at 42ppm vs. 40ppm.

HP is also offering some new variants that come with HP Plus. If you buy the HP LaserJet 4001ne (instead of the 4001n), the printer comes with HP Plus (or HP+). You’ll save $60 on the printer, but you will also be locked out of buying aftermarket toner cartridges. You do gain an additional year on your warranty and six months of HP Instant Ink. HP Instant Ink is a subscription plan for toner where you pay a monthly fee up to a certain number of pages. There are a number of tiers depending on your usage. According to HP you can save 50% by using instant ink, but your savings will depend on how close your printed pages match the Instant Ink Tier you selected.

The good news is that our New MICR toner cartridges are Genuine HP cartridges that have been modified with MICR toner, so the will work in the printers that come with HP+.

The LaserJet 4001 accepts both the W1480A and W1480X toner cartridges. The W1480A prints 2,900 pages and the W1480X high yield cartridge is rated for 9,500 pages.

W1480A MICR Toner Cartridge $175
W1480X MICR Toner Cartridge $315


New Product: HP M209dw MICR Laser Printer

Friday, July 29th, 2022 | MICR Toner and Check Printing | No Comments

The HP M209dw printer has been out for over a year now. We are happy to announce we are now selling the HPM209dw with a MICR toner cartridge.

Our Take: This is an inexpensive printer up front, but the cost per page is high compared to the more expensive models. This makes a great dedicated MICR printer for small check runs from 10-100 pages. Beyond that, you are better off spending your money on the LaserJet M404n MICR Laser Printer. The M404n is faster, more durable, and less expensive to operate in the long run.

The M209dw is the least expensive, dare I say cheapest, LaserJet printer we sell for printing checks. It’s got a tiny foot print which makes it ideal if you are tight on space. If you are printing small runs of checks, this may be the printer for you.

HP M209dw MICR Laser Printer $299

We will also be selling the M209DWE variant of the printer as well. The DWE is less expensive than the DW and comes with double the warranty and HP+. HP+ is a system that gives your printer cloud based connectivity. The HP+ system can be utilized to automatically order your toner. The disadvantage is that the DWE will only allow HP OEM toner cartridges to be used. This isn’t a problem because we sell new modified HP cartridges. These cartridges will work fine as they are new HP.

Here are some more details about DWE (with HP+) vs DW.


Prices are going up in June…

Sunday, May 22nd, 2022 | MICR Toner and Check Printing | No Comments

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know things cost more these days. Advantage Laser Products has not been immune to recent inflation. We’ve experienced increased costs for raw materials, packaging, and transportation. In particular, the paper industry seems to be hit especially hard by the lingering effects of the COVID 19 virus. Inventory levels of quality blank paper are very low and this has been driving our costs up.

Unfortunately, this means you can look for some price hikes from us in the near future.

June 1st MICR toner cartridge prices will increase on average by 4%. You can expect prices for individual cartridges to increase by $5 to $10 each.

June 15thCheck paper prices will increase by 10-15%. To this point, we’ve been absorbing some of the increased costs. We’ve been warned that to expect more paper cost increases later in the year.

Now is a great time to stock up before the June price increases take effect. Thank you for your understanding in the trying times.


New Product: W1340A / W1340X MICR Toner for the HP LaserJet M209dw

Monday, July 5th, 2021 | HP Toner, MICR Toner and Check Printing | No Comments

We’ve just released two new MICR toner cartridges for the HP LaserJet M209 series. The M209dw is a low volume duplex printer that prints at 30ppm. This makes a perfect dedicated printer for printing small batches of checks. If you printing any volume of checks, upgrade to the M404n MICR laser printer. The lower cost per page of the M404n MICR will pay for it’s self over time with a 50% lower cost per page.

We offer two MICR toner cartridges for the HP LaserJet M209 series – W1340A and W1340X. The W1340A prints 1,100 pages. The W1340X prints 2,400 pages. We recommend the W1340X MICR Toner Cartridge as the cost per page drops from 11.36 cents to 6.87 cents. Again this printer is good for printing a low volume of checks.

W1340A MICR Toner Cartridge – 1,100 pages
W1340X MICR Toner Cartridge – 2,400 pages

HP M209dw MICR Toner Cartridge

Note: HP offers two variants of the LaserJet M209 – M209dw and M209dwe. The dwe variant requires that you register an account with HP and sign up for HP+. With HP+, HP is attempting to bypass the middleman and sell toner directly to the end user. If you sign up HP will spam you to buy their toner via HP+ through email and on your local computer through the driver. Yes you save $40 when you buy the printer, but we still recommend buying the dw and avoid the hassle of joining HP+ and suffering through a fair bit of spam from HP. HP does add an additional year of the HP warranty and gives you six months of free toner (up to 1,500 pages per month) when you sign up for HP+. So there is a plus side to HP+.

Here’s a complete compatibility list for the W1340A and W1340X MICR toner cartridges.

  • HP LaserJet M209dw
  • HP LaserJet M209dwe
  • HP LaserJet M211d
  • HP LaserJet M211dw
  • HP LaserJet M233dw
  • HP LaserJet M233sdn
  • HP LaserJet M236dw
  • HP LaserJet M236sdn
  • HP LaserJet M236sdw
  • HP LaserJet M234sdwe
  • HP LaserJet M234sdw
  • HP LaserJet M236d
  • HP LaserJet M233sdw
  • HP LaserJet M234dwe
  • HP LaserJet M234dw
  • HP LaserJet M234dwe
  • HP LaserJet M234sdne
  • HP LaserJet M234sdn

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Printer Firmware Updates – Don’t Do it!

Tuesday, August 18th, 2020 | HP Toner | No Comments

Ever since the HP LaserJet 4100 was released back in 2001, HP toner cartridges have had chips on them. These chips store useful information such as pages printed and toner coverage. These chips also tell your printer that the cartridge is empty or the cartridge is not genuine HP and to stop printing. This technique was originally deployed to prevent cartridges from being recycled or remanufactured. But it didn’t take long for the aftermarket toner cartridge industry to figure out how to replace the chip with an aftermarket chip. Since then HP has been playing an elaborate game of whack-a-mole with the aftermarket toner cartridge industry attempting to block aftermarket toner cartridges.

HP’s latest salvo in the war of toner cartridges has been via firmware updates. Aftermarket chip companies develop their chip to work with current HP firmware, then HP updates the firmware and guess what? Aftermarket cartridges developed for the older firmware won’t work.

Traditionally it was a difficult process to update firmware. You had to download a utility to push it to the printer so almost nobody updated their firmware unless there was a bug that required it. Now you your driver will prompt you to update the firmware and in a click of a button your firmware is updated. Worse still, some printer manufacturers automatically update the firmware without the user even knowing about it.

If you use aftermarket or remanufactured toner cartridges, don’t upgrade your firmware or you may find yourself locked out of buying aftermarket toner cartridges. If you only use new toner cartridges, the firmware updates won’t be a problem. That is also true for our New MICR toner cartridges as we use a new HP toner cartridge and convert it to MICR. And as the chip is original, you won’t have a problem.

It’s not just HP that has chips on their toner cartridges. You’ll find them with HP, Lexmark, Brother and more.

Follow these four steps to insure that your aftermarket toner cartridges will continue to function properly in your printer.

  1. Say no to ALL firmware updates for your printer.
  2. Make sure to switch off any automatic firmware updates..
  3. Inform your colleagues that they should also say NO to ALL firmware updates.
  4. Place a label on each printer indicating for users to say no to ALL firmware updates.


New Product: HP W1470A MICR Toner for Check Printing

Wednesday, July 8th, 2020 | MICR Toner and Check Printing | No Comments

We’ve just released a New MICR Toner for the newest series of HP Enterprise LaserJet Printers. The W1470A is compatible with the HP LaserJet M610, M611, M612. The HP W1470A MICR Toner Cartridge is a New MICR toner, meaning we’ve removed the original toner from a Genuine New HP Cartridge and replaced it with MICR toner. MICR or magnetic toner is required for check printing.

At this moment, we are only selling the standard yield W1470A MICR toner and we are not offering the high yield W1470X MICR toner.

Our Part #: RCW1470ANM
Our Price: $285.00 (free ground shipping)
Page Yield: 10,500 (5% coverage)
HP Part #: W1470A or 147A

Compatibility W1470A
HP LaserJet Enterprise M610n
HP LaserJet Enterprise M610dn
HP LaserJet Enterprise M611n
HP LaserJet Enterprise M611dn
HP LaserJet Enterprise M612dn
HP LaserJet Enterprise MFP M634h
HP LaserJet Enterprise MFP M634z
HP LaserJet Enterprise MFP M635h
HP LaserJet Enterprise MFP M635fht
HP LaserJet Enterprise MFP M636fh
HP LaserJet Enterprise MFP M636z

As with the previous generation of HP enterprise printers, we recommend changing your paper type to heavy so that the paper fuses properly to the paper. To learn more about setting your paper type to heavy, watch the video. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGuEaADkQ0c)

Order online or call us at 800-722-2804 and press 1.


New Product: MICR Toner for HP LaserJet M507 Series (CF289A and CF289X MICR)

Thursday, May 28th, 2020 | MICR Toner and Check Printing | No Comments

We are finally releasing a CF289A and CF289X MICR Toner (Magnetic) for check printing. HP released this printer over a year ago, but until now, we’ve been unable to release a qualified product. Our new CF289A/X MICR toner cartridge produces perfect prints and is designed to meet both ABA and ANSI standards.

HP CF289A New MICR Toner Cartridge
HP CF289A MICR Toner Cartridge

We have both the standard yield (5,000 pages) and the high yield (10,000 pages) versions of this MICR toner cartridge.

This is a new modified toner cartridge, meaning we’ve taken a brand new HP CF289A or CF289X toner and removed the original toner and replaced it with MICR toner. Thankfully both the standard and high yield versions fit in all of the printers.

Both cartridges are available at www.advlaser.com
New Standard Yield CF289A MICR Toner Cartridge – $230 (5,000 Pages)
New High Yield CF289X MICR Toner Cartridge – $340 (10,000 Pages)

Compatibility: HP LaserJet M507n, M507dn, M507x, M528 MFP

Availability: In Stock – Ships immediately