I ordered checks from my financial institution, and I got back ones that looked like this:

Check photo

What struck me as odd was that the entire thing, including the bottom machine-readable part, seems like a low-quality inkjet print, not the laser-like kind of MICR print I've seen before.

So I'm curious as to whether it is in fact using magnetic ink, so that if I try to use it later and it isn't accepted, I know whether this might be the cause. Is there an easy way to tell?

1 Answer 1


If you ordered the checks from your bank, it probably has magnetic ink, because that is the standard. The visual print quality of the MICR line is not an indication of whether or not magnetic ink was used, because bad quality printing can occur no matter which type of ink is used.

However, it is my understanding that most modern check reading devices are optical and don't require magnetic ink. Our business has been printing our own checks using standard toner for years and has never had a complaint from any bank or vendor.

  • +1 thanks! Out of curiosity, do you know if there's anything special about the check paper either? Like if I just took a standard letter paper in my home printer and printed out an identical-looking "check" (and cut it out appropriately), would banks care? I'm not sure if there's anything special about check papers or their "security" features to warrant ordering them...
    – user541686
    Dec 8, 2017 at 23:55
  • Well, I was the one who asked that question in the first place... the problem there was that your answer over there seemed like speculation, which I could've done too. On the other hand, here said printing checks is something you actually do, which made your answer here very helpful. So I thought I'd also ask if you've had any experience with self-printed templates... because I had no idea you were the same person who answered both. So I'm guessing you don't know if they take self-printed templates, right? You're just recommending I use preprinted templates out of generic caution?
    – user541686
    Dec 9, 2017 at 1:11
  • @Mehrdad My answer on the other question has not changed. If you want to print your own checks, I recommend you buy purpose-specific check paper and software. That's what we do.
    – Ben Miller
    Dec 9, 2017 at 2:56

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