The answer is none, anyone can print checks using just about any printer. What is required though is MICR check printer, but this deals entirely with a special ink not a printer.
MICR (magnetic ink character recognition) check printer is required by banks to counter check payment fraud. This drive becomes almost mandatory, since most payment fraud roughly 43% are made through fraudulent checks. In fact, check fraud surpasses that of credit card fraud. At least 71% of companies have experienced check fraud or attempted check fraud.
Companies that issue a lot of checks are left with no option but to print their own checks, the reason is tied to savings not something else. But before printing checks, the company must abide with the guidelines set by the bank. The requirement are usually as follows:
- A software for formatting the check, this is important to not just print any customized checks, but one that is friendly to the banks operating systems.
- MICR font to print the computer-friendly numbers at the bottom of each check, otherwise banking operations can be hampered.
- Check stock, the special kind of paper with security features that discourage checks from alterations.
- Magnetic Ink, although optional but it can help a lot as a security feature to avoid problems and additional expense.
There are two ways to print checks, it can be done from scratch, or one can order partially printed checks from professional printing sources. Printing from scratch regularly need special ink, fonts and a check printer that will do the printing process. Like all checks, partially printed checks need to be printed on with computer-readable numbers, on special paper using magnetic ink. Once the requirements are completed the checks are loaded into the printer to add the payee.
As already mentioned, any printer will do to print checks, it could be an ink based inkjet printer, a toner based laser printer or a ribbon loaded impact printer. All can be classified as MICR check printers if the special ink is used in the process. There is no special consideration to classify a printer as MICR printer.
Remember, it is the banks that provide the specifics and must be thoroughly complied with for one to be allowed to print checks. Any deviation from the guidelines will render the checks stale, having not met the MICR check printer standards.