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One of the biggest hidden costs of having a checking account comes from ordering checks. Simply put, these free checking accounts offered by all of the major banks today have to make their money somehow. By doing the check printing yourself, you can save those costs and get ahead financially.

There are a few precautions that you should take before you start spitting out your own checks. It’s not as simple as just having them come out on a piece of paper. There are quite a few really good and inexpensive programs to help with check printing, so purchasing one of those isn’t a bad idea. Beyond that, here are some things to know.

What Do You Need For DIY Check Printing?

In addition to the aforementioned software that you should pick up, there are some equipment standards that you will need to meet in order to successfully print your own checks. The convenient thing is that you can use your own home printer. You should go out and pick up magnetic ink, though. Getting your hands on this ink can sometimes be challenging, so a little searching might be required.

In addition to that ink, you will need special paper, so that your checks can’t be easily changed. You can purchase check stock paper from a number of online and offline retail outlets. This blank check stock can be purchased by the hundreds of sheets, so they will last for years if you don’t write a lot of checks. This paper will resemble the checks that you might receive at your bank. The most important thing about these checks is that they come with full security features, so that people will have a difficult time trying to change around the information held there.

For those people who use a money management program, you can also purchase checks for Quicken or other programs. This type of check stock is made especially for those programs, so you can automatically print checks for certain expenses that are a part of your bookkeeping program.

More on Magnetic Ink

Magnetic ink is extremely important for a few reasons. When you write a check, it will eventually be run through a reader. Non-optical readers cannot read a check unless it is printed in magnetic ink. If you choose to go forward with check printing without using magnetic ink, you run the risk of having delays and fees charged because of the manual check processing that will take place as a result of not having the special ink.

What are MICR Fonts?

Have you ever wondered why the bank account information and routing information on your check look so funny? It’s because they are done in what is known as an MICR font. In order for most banks to honor a check, these numbers must be done in either MICR or another font, known as E-13B. Usually, a laser quality printer is required in order to print these fonts, so you will want to check and make sure that your printer is capable. These fonts will be much easier to print on laser stock paper, as well.

Overall, check printing from home is something that can save you money, especially if you write a lot of checks. Though the extra equipment might cost a little bit more at the beginning, you will reap the benefits on the back end. Make sure to take all of these security measures to heart, though. If you don’t, then you might end up having someone alter one of your checks, which can be a real headache.