Why MICR Toner Cartridge Quality Matters

Author: Source Technologies

To process checks, banks’ high-speed readers/sorters must be able to “read” the numeric information that appears at the bottom of checks — the magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) line.

This MICR line must be printed using magnetic toner because the machine sends magnetic charges to the paper to read the routing and account numbers.

If the MICR line is misread or unreadable at this stage, the financial institution must repair the MICR line on the check, resulting in a processing fee, also known as a check reject fee, that gets passed back to the company that issued the check. Check reject fees can get very expensive if many checks are printed with the same poor-quality MICR toner cartridge.

This is why choosing the best MICR toner is crucial to not only your secure check printing capabilities but also your bottom line.


3 Things to Consider When Choosing a MICR Toner

The effectiveness of your MICR toner depends on several factors working together to create a secure printing solution. So, how do you decide which toner and toner cartridges are ideal for your business or financial institution?

When choosing a MICR toner for your MICR printer, consider the following things:


1. Toner Yield

An important element to consider when choosing a MICR toner cartridge is the durability or performance of the toner. Remanufactured MICR toner cartridges may be advertised to cost less, but there is a higher price you are likely to pay.

Reused or “remanufactured” MICR toner cartridges are used toner cartridges, often marketed as MICR “compatible.” Previously used cartridges are emptied, disassembled, cleaned, reassembled, and refilled with a toner mix and marketed as MICR toner.

While remanufactured MICR toner may cost less to purchase, these MICR toner cartridges usually produce yields far lower than advertised. Without a durable MICR toner, companies will spend more money to replace the cartridges more frequently and increase the risk of check reject fees from the check clearing process.


2. Quality

Remanufactured MICR toner cartridges do not offer the quality, performance, and verified yield of other cartridges, such as Source Technologies’ MICR toners.

Toner vendors who produce remanufactured MICR toner cartridges can label their toner without being held to performance standards or MICR verification. Many parts of the remanufacturing process, such as cartridge refilling, are full of unpredictable issues and introduce the potential for inferior toner formulations.

When a toner formulation is bad, it will not withstand the check-clearing process, opening your company up to the risk of bank reject fees.

Even if a remanufactured MICR toner cartridge is labeled “compatible” with MICR printers, there is no quality or performance guarantee. In fact, remanufactured toners have been known to cause expensive or even irreparable damage to printers.


3. Durability

In the MICR toner remanufacturing process, it’s not uncommon for cartridges to be reused 5, 10, 15, or more times. The problem here is that cartridges are not built for repetitive use like this, and it’s only a matter of time before a remanufactured cartridge causes long-term damage to a MICR printer.

Suppliers of remanufactured cartridges want you to think you are getting a great deal on a great product. They advertise a “low cost for a high yield,” and they are counting on companies not keeping track of their print yield. In this case, you will never know that the 21K cartridge you purchased yields only 12K. Your cost per page just doubled.

When you opt for a remanufactured MICR toner cartridge, you take a significant risk. You are risking not only the shelf-life and quality of the MICR toner but also future incurred costs from bank reject fees.


Bonus Considerations When Assessing MICR Toner Quality

The quality of the MICR toner has to satisfy your business needs in terms of yield, number of pages printed per cartridge, and performance, which should be virtually defect-free. When testing the performance and quality of MICR toner, also look for:

  • Character signal strength: What’s the measure of the magnetic property in the toner? Is it high enough?
  • Adhesion: What’s the MICR toner’s ability to adhere or fuse to the check paper?
  • Contamination: How does the MICR toner affect the printer hardware?

Source Technologies Delivers on All Fronts

Source Technologies MICR toner cartridges are backed by the MICR guarantee that will reimburse your company for any check reject fees and materials damaged while using the MICR solution.

On the other hand, when you purchase a remanufactured or refilled MICR toner cartridge, you forfeit the quality assurance features that a Source Technologies secure MICR solution provides, including:

  • Low toner warning
  • MICR toner detection
  • MICR guarantee

Source Technologies’ MICR toner cartridges pass a 300-step manufacturing process designed to ensure businesses receive quality cartridges that mitigate check fraud risk and reduce check reject fees.

Check out the Source Technologies MICR toner cartridge quality assurance process for more elements to test when looking for quality MICR toner that adheres to national MICR standards.


Ensure Compliance and Eliminate Check Reject Fees With Quality MICR Toner

All in all, it’s critical to have a secure MICR printer and blank check stock working together to eliminate the expense and risk associated with pre-printed checks, but without a quality MICR toner cartridge in place, even the best hardware in the world won’t ensure your check meets Federal Reserve’s MICR standards.

For help choosing the best MICR toner for your company’s secure printing solution, contact us today.