Before you print your own checks, make sure you know how to do it correctly. You can save a lot of time and money, but simple mistakes can ruin all of your gains. This page will show you how to successfully print your own checks and avoid hassles.
If you're just printing checks because you want your own image on the check, you might not need to go to the trouble. Some online services now allow you to upload an image and they do the work for you:
Software to Print Your Own Checks
While you can design and print your own checks without any special software, I like the idea of using a pre-built package. The reason is that they’re relatively inexpensive and they do a lot of work for you.
In addition, some software that lets you print your own checks interfaces with popular money management software (like Quicken, MS Money, etc). By using a compatible program, you can track payments without having to enter them manually.
One of the most accessible programs for printing your own checks is VersaCheck. You can find VersaCheck online or at various office retailers, and you’ll be able to print your own checks in no time.
Equipment Needed to Print Your Own Checks
You can print your own checks with almost any printer. However, I strongly recommend using magnetic ink if you’re going to print your own checks from scratch (see below). Finding printer supplies with magnetic ink can be a challenge. You can refill a lot of inkjet cartridges though.
You should also use special paper for check printing. This paper has security features that make it difficult to alter your printed check. When used along with simple steps to write a tamper-resistant check, your account will be safer.
Do You Need Magnetic Ink to Print Your Own Checks?
Technically, no. However, I wouldn’t print checks without it. Be wary of software vendors who oversimplify the issue and claim that you can always print your own checks without magnetic ink.
The entire check doesn’t need magnetic ink. The most important part is your bank information like the routing number and account number. These are the funny looking numbers along the bottom of a check, also known as the MICR line. If you had these numbers preprinted and you’re only printing payee information, you don’t need magnetic ink.
Computers with magnetic readers read the account information off these checks to speed processing. While we are slowly moving towards optical readers, you are still likely to have your check run through a non-optical reader.
If you print your own checks without magnetic ink, you run the risk that the check will pass through a non-optical reader. Then, the check has to be processed manually. Manual processing can result in a fee for you and/or your payee, as well as slower payments.
If you’re going to print your own checks, do yourself a favor and use magnetic ink. It is more expensive than regular ink, but it’s not outrageous. You don’t have to use it exclusively when you print your own checks – you can use magnetic ink for everyday print jobs.
Shopping Links to Print Your Own Checks
Some products that you may find useful if you’re going to print your own checks: