Printing your own business or personal checks is perfectly legal in the US, and no laws are prohibiting you from doing so. However, there are certain standards that printed checks need to meet.
Although these aren’t required by law, banks generally insist on them. If you can meet these standards and print your own checks at home, you are allowed to do so.
Learn more about these standards and discover how you can print checks from the comfort of your home.
How to make your own checks
It is perfectly possible to make and print your own checks from home. However, before you begin printing your own checks, you must first make ensure you meet the necessary standards.
To get started you’ll need:
- A printer
- Check printing software
- Check stock paper
- Magnetic ink
- MICR font
You can print your check with almost any printer, but you need to make sure your printer is compatible with magnetic ink.
Check Printing Software
Designing your own checks can often be a hassle and requires graphic design skills to ensure that they are formatted the correct way. While you can find templates in Excel for check printing, to avoid any errors and ensure you comply with the bank check printing standards, using check printing software may be the best option.
This software can make this process easier by doing all the hard work for you. Tools such as ezCheckPrinting and check printing services offered by QuickBooks make it easy for you to create printed checks online.
Check Stock Paper
Printing a check on plain paper is not recommended. Instead, you’ll need check stock paper. Specifically designed for printed checks, check stock paper includes additional features such as microprinting, security warnings, and watermarks. Without these added security features your checks could be subject to fraud and put you at risk of financial misconduct.
Check stock paper is compatible with most printers and you can often find it at your local post office, supply store, or buy it from online retailers.
If you are cashing your check at the bank or ATM then you will need to use magnetic ink. This is important as a bank machine won’t be able to process your check otherwise and they could be rejected. If you are cashing mobile check deposits, however, then magnetic ink is not needed.
MICR font - magnetic ink character recognition, must be used so that the machine can process your check.
How to print your own checks
Now that you’re familiar with how to make your own checks and the standards you’ll need to meet in doing so, here’s how to print your own checks at home.
- Step 1: Invest in Check Printing Software As previously discussed, if you want to save yourself the hassle of formatting checks, make sure you invest in check printing software.
- Step 2: Load Your Printer with Stock Paper
- Step 3: Install MICR Font Install the MICR font – this can be purchased from the Microsoft app store or the Apple store.
- Step 4: Add the Routing and Account Number Add the routing number to the bottom left corner of your check and the account number next to it (both should be written in MICR font).
- Step 5: Fill Out Personal Info Fill out all your personal information in the top left-hand section. Details should include your name and address.
- Step 6: Add the Check Number Add the check number to the upper right-hand corner of your check and the lower left-hand side of the check – next to the account number.
- Step 7: Add the Bank’s Fractional Number Add the bank’s fractional number below the check number.
- Step 8: Add the Date Place the date in the upper right-hand corner.
- Step 9: Add Payee Details On the right-hand side of the check, fill in the payee details, along with the amount to be paid.
- Step 10: Review & Print Review everything to ensure all your details are correct before hitting print.
- Step 11: Sign Once printed, don’t forget to sign the check by hand (most banks do not accept a printed signature).
The benefits of making and printing your own checks
- Saves money – Printed checks are often less expensive than pre-printed checks.
- Added security – A printed check adds a layer of security as check printing software is specifically designed to promote security. You’ll also be keeping your financial data private and confidential.
- Saves time – When you print personal checks, you save time filling the check out manually. It also reduces the stress that comes with having to wait while you request another checkbook from your bank.
- Avoid manual errors- When you automate the check process, you’ll eliminate any room for manual typos and errors.
Can I print a check on a regular printer?
Yes, you can print checks with almost any printer as long as it is compatible with magnetic ink. Using magnetic ink is required if you want a bank machine to be able to read your check.
Is it illegal to print checks from home?
It is perfectly legal for you to print checks at home in the US and no laws are prohibiting you from doing so. However, there are certain standards that you must meet for your check to be successfully processed.