Cheque Printing Technology

Referring to the advancement made over the years, there have been three technologies applied in cheque printing, namely:

Ink-Jet Printer

Ink-jet printers utilise a reasonable level of technology that involves the use of wet ink penetrating paper fibres (the paper used requiring an open, slightly porous surface, not glossy or calendared). However, printing in reverse image is not as secure as other printings. There is also the possibility of completely blacking out the printed area and white stick on lettering.

Another factor that disadvantages ink-jet printing from others is its incapability to print MICR code. You will not find Ink Jet printers that can print MICR.

Laser Printer

In line with its name, which is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, laser printer, which technically does not have print heads, uses radiation of toner to create a print image on the paper, without any contact with the paper surface.

From energy-consumption point of view, this type of printer is more efficient as it produces a concentrated, coherent beam of light by stimulating molecular or electronic transitions to lower energy levels, causing the emission of photons.

However, from the business performance point of view, laser printer is not effective; it involves lots of chemical manipulations between the toner and the heat. The rejection rate may go high as the character may deteriorate over multiple processing at the clearing house and this means extra charges for the ban.

  • The cheque number is missing.
  • The customer’s address is missing.
  • The bank’s address is missing.
  • The MICR number is missing.

The laser printer is indeed widely available at an affordable cost. Unfortunately, it requires higher cost for every single cheque processed. Hence, it is not surprising if printing with laser printer becomes much more expensive in the long run.

Even worse, the laser printer increases exposure to widely-spreading cheque fraud as the image can be easily removed with a sharp-bladed instrument, through freezing techniques, or microwave technology and be replaced with bogus information using widely‐available desktop lasers, adding more loss to your record.

Meanwhile, from the safety point of view, laser printer exposes operators to serious health hazards, such as: irritated eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, premature ageing and reproductive, cancer etc.

Impact Printer

Different to the other two printing technologies, impact printer comes with a print head that has to be in contact with the paper surface. It uses ribbon as the magnetic ink source and involves the transfer of a magnetic coating from the ribbon onto the paper.

Impact printers ensure a higher level of signal strength, which is a necessity for automatic clearing systems. It adds another dimension by using special security ribbons with a penetrating and fluorescent effect, thus preventing cheques from both alteration and duplication.

Specifically compared to laser printers, impact printers bring more advantages as outlined below:



Laser Printer

Impact Printer


Environmental Condition

The printer can only be used in specific environmental condition, which may be different one from another manufacturer.

The printer can be used under any environmental condition, as long as the environment is at room temperature and habitable.


Paper Quality

The printer highly depends on the quality of paper. When the paper is moist, the print out (i.e. MICR) will be negatively affected.

The printer can accommodate any paper produced according to the quality standard.



The speed is faster at the beginning, but gradually becomes slower as the generated heat increases. The machine needs down-time to recover from excessive heat, making it difficult to support high daily production.

The speed is constant throughout the operating hours, allowing for higher daily production.



The printer uses toner that contains toxic materials, such as carcinogens, of which cumulative effects can be very serious. Therefore, a ventilation is highly essential for outdoor air exchange to minimise reduce the hazards.

The printer uses affordable ribbon tape, which does not