Laser Printing Technology | The Dangers of Antiquated Solutions

Author: Source Technologies

For businesses, antiquated technology poses a few risks. With older technologies, safety features are not in place to protect consumers or the institution from fraud. For the business, older laser printing technology doesn't always integrate well with new applications or standardized processes. This means that not investing in the right solutions can cost the business time, efficiency, and possible lost dollars.

Technology is ever-changing and it seems like you need to keep upgrading in order to stay current. That's never more true than it is in the financial industry. Fraud reports have increased dramatically in the last few years. For financial institutions, that doesn't only mean making certain cybersecurity efforts are up to date. It also means shoring up all technology to avoid cases of check forging. This is where MICR printing becomes so important.

If your business is printing checks in-house, we've discussed why MICR is the right solution. It eliminates the need for third-party printing, lets you take care of payroll without outsourcing, and protects your business from fraud. In this post, we'll talk about solutions that are out of date, what the risks are for your business, and how to tell if it's time to update.

Is Your Laser Printing Technology Out of Date?

New User Certifications Are Needed

Self-service kiosks allow credit unions to transition from a teller-centric model to a universal banker model. Through automating the “transaction zone” within the credit union, branch staff can focus on training, product certification, and engaging in more consultative interactions with members. With 90% of the typical transactions to be transitioned to a self-service channel, tellers are freed up to focus more on complex transactions and in-depth member needs analysis. 

New SKUs and Parts Numbers Are Needed

An out-of-date machine may not be repairable. You may need to upgrade because SKU numbers and part numbers are no longer available. 

Must Update Stock of Consumable Sets

Your consumable sets, MICR toner, paper, and ink may need to be updated to fit in with the updated technology. 

Mixed Fleet of Printers

If you're using more than one printing device, there can be an issue with integration. Some of the printers may need to be updated and it's important that you're using the right MICR toner cartridge with the right machine so that you can verify the quality of the checks.

Your Previous Devices Are No Longer Supported for Necessary Updates

There are necessary updates that you'll have to maintain in order to stay compliant with regulatory needs. If your devices are no longer supporting the updates, it's a good sign it's time to upgrade.

Remanufactured or Refilled MICR Toner Cartridges

Most suppliers of remanufactured MICR toner cartridges don't adhere to a specific standard. This means that you never know what you might get when you purchase remanufactured or refilled MICR cartridges. You can't verify the quality. This often looks like good cost savings, but there is a reason that these cartridges are lower priced than the cartridges that are developed specifically for your machine. They cut corners in production. 

Remanufactured toner cartridges are not the right cartridges for your printer model. Even when you're purchasing the refilled MICR toner cartridges, it's a gamble. They may be the right cartridge size and type, but you can't verify the quality of the toner. There are no guarantees for these types of purchases.

Refilled and remanufactured MICR toner cartridges might have a lower MICR signal strength which increases the likelihood of the check being returned. You also run the risk of inconsistent toner coverage, which again compromises the ability of the MICR to function properly. There can also be flaking toner from the MICR line in remanufactured MICR cartridges.

When you use these solutions, you increase the likelihood of bank rejection fees. Recycled and remanufactured MICR printing toners and supplies can also damage your MICR machine. Because you can't verify the quality, there is always a risk of decreased performance.

Issuing Checks Via Antiquated Laser Printing Technology

Issuing checks via antiquated dot matrix printers, thermal teller printers, typewriters, and other non-laser devices is a less efficient solution. There are a number of problems that you can find, including:

  • Print Quality
  • Print Alignment and Feed Issues
  • Minimal Printable Area
  • Dedicated Stock
  • Serialization
  • Carbon Copies

Print Quality

MICR toners provide an even print quality. Every line of print, from the beginning until the end, will be identical. The printers provide alerts to replace the toner cartridge before printing quality ever fades. For customers of Source Technologies, we offer an ICR Numeric font that's designed to optimize optical scanning of checks, as well.
With other non-laser solutions, the print quality is not consistent. The person working with the printing options will need to manually determine when to replace ink and toner, and this damages the quality of the print. With poor printing, banks and financial institutions are more in danger of fraud, which can also impact your own business.

Print Alignment and Feed Issues

MICR printers use blank check stock, and the process is precise. An operator doesn't need to feed individual checks or paper stock. The machine does the work, and this automation eliminates manual errors. Alignment is perfect every time and includes all of the data necessary to secure your MICR line, amount, serial number, and complete check image.
Print alignment is a noted problem for other types of printing. Using a manual feeding method, you're more at risk of damaging the checks themselves and alignment is difficult to manage. It's never as precise as an automatic feed can accomplish. The misalignment can cause your checks to be returned.

Minimal Printing Areas

The print areas on a check are small, which means that the MICR printer functions are ideal because they can accommodate these precise areas and efficiently input all the pertinent information exactly where it needs to be.
In these small areas, manual options, such as typewriters, won't work well. This is far less efficient and time-consuming for staff.

Dedicated Stock

With Source Technologies, the stock is consolidated so that all of your laser printing technologies can be done seamlessly and efficiently. Cashier's checks and money orders can both be completed with the same blank stock, perfectly aligned, and expertly executed.
In other solutions, you'll need to purchase various kinds of stock to have on hand and your staff will need to be well-versed in feeding and aligning all the different types of checks that you print.


With Source Technologies laser solution, checks are serialized on demand. This eliminates the manual entry of serial numbers, so there are no issues with data entry errors. It also means that your stock won’t need to be pre-serialized, so there are no issues with issuing checks out of order.
When other solutions are employed, serial numbers need to be added manually. This means that there is a risk of error due to mistyped serial numbers.

Carbon Copies
Using the Source Technologies solution is more efficient for carbon copies. A single 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper is printed in three parts. There is a check, customer copy, and bank copy. The bank copy is used for teller processing. The customer copy and bank copy can also be customized to have different information. In the case of carbon copies, all copies are identical. This makes the process more efficient and allows you to customize the copies for their use and the needs of the party using them. Another aspect of this type of printing that is superior is the quality and legibility.

Carbon copies made the traditional way are often difficult to read. All three copies of the check are identical, but the secondary copy will be fainter than the original check and the last copy is often difficult, if not impossible, to read.

Important Points to Remember

All printers are not MICR compatible. If you’re not using a printer specifically designed for MICR, it can cause damage to the printer to use MICR toner and ink. You’re also running the risk of having your check legibility unacceptable, or having the MICR unreadable.

If you’ve purchased cartridges for your printer, the cartridge may not work. You can go through all of the trouble to install and set up your printing process and then find that the printer won’t function with the MICR cartridge.

Here are a few of the common error messages you might receive if the cartridge is not compatible with your printer:

  • Toner is not compatible.
  • No cartridge installed.
  • Printer cartridge not detected.
  • Printer can’t detect ink.
  • Low on Toner.
  • Empty on toner.
  • HP cartridges locked.

For many printers, you’ll have flashing warning lights that may or may not tell you that the problem is with the printer cartridge. There may also be connectivity issues and incompatible driver issues.

Solutions for Antiquated Laser Printing

Are you looking for solutions for your antiquated laser printing? Source Technologies provides quality and reliability for your printed checks and other MICR documents. We have an exclusive partnership with Lexmark, using the best technologies to guarantee compatibility and seamless connectivity for every project.

Source Technologies machines are designed to handle high printing volumes to meet your business’ demands. Our products are also made to last the test of time, so you don’t need to worry about upgrading to new machines too quickly. Our models are available for 4-5 years and they are supported for an additional 5-7 years. This means that if you invest in a new machine, you can keep that printer and never worry about integration or upgrading for 10-12 years.

Contact us today to discuss your laser printing needs or shop our MICR supplies online.