As traditionally practiced, IBM i check printing involves a number of expensive and proprietary processes, including:
- Secure IBM i check printing software that interfaces with your accounts
payable system Pre-printed check stock that must be special ordered
with your bank routing and account numbers. The different pre-printed
stock is needed for each checking account that you print checks from.
- MICR-enhanced check printers with signature modules to sign printed checks
- Two secure storage areas to avoid theft and fraud: one area for storing pre-printed check stock with account numbers and another area for housing the check printer loaded with your pre-printed check stock
- A fairly expensive maintenance contract for your check printing software and the MICR printer
Some IBM i forms vendors offer packages for turn-key check printing, that includes IBM i check printing software, MICR printers that are compatible with their software, toners, check stock, maintenance kits, and maintenance contracts that cover it all. It’s common (and profitable) for a single vendor to supply an organization with all the products needed for an IBM i check printing system.
Laser check printing turns this model on its head. It takes an expensive and proprietary system and brings its costs and activities in line with what you’d expect to pay for a good network printer, eliminating an expensive proprietary solution.
Here’s what you need to know about laser check printing and why IMHO, it’s superior to traditional pre-printed check printing.
With laser check printing, you can treat check printing as another feature of your forms software. Many IBM i forms packages including my FormFlex software, offer secure check printing modules that plug into an existing forms solution. This forms plus checks software model is much more versatile than purchasing just a check printing package, by itself.
Many IBM i forms packages offer laser check printing modules at a reasonable cost. With the right vendor, you can easily transition away from proprietary check printing software and printers to using a forms package to print IBM i checks on laser printers.
Cheaper check stock and printers produce big savings
Earlier this year, I posted a blog on how to calculate your savings by switching from pre-printed checks to blank check stock. Organizations can save good money by using blank check stock and printing their account numbers on each check using a regular laser printer with MICR toner.
Using a laser printer for IBM i check printing on blank check stock affords the following advantages:
- Many regular laser printers support MICR ink cartridges for printing routing and bank account numbers on blank check stock. MICR cartridges can be proprietary toner and it is available from many different vendors.
- You no longer have to buy and securely store pre-printed check stock. Blank check stock reduces your security needs because there isn’t any profit in stealing checks without an account number. Blank check stock can be stored with other office supplies.
- You can change bank routing and account numbers on a check, without having to buy and load different pre-printed check stock. Most IBM i forms software can handle printing checks for different bank accounts on laser printers.
- A laser printer doesn’t need special hardware to add signatures to a check. IBM i forms software can securely store signatures. Password protection and encryption can control who can and cannot access signatures or other sensitive check info.
- Laser check printers can be maintained on your regular office printer maintenance contract, as opposed to a special maintenance contract for a proprietary printer. The same people who service your other laser printers can service your laser check printers. And if you use a printer maintenance vendor to supply toner for all your printers, you may be able to use your maintenance firm to automatically bring new toner in when your old MICR ink cartridges run out.
Getting Bank Approval for IBM i Laser Check Printing
Even though laser checks offer superior advantages to pre-printed check printing, many people think it’s difficult to get your bank to approve laser checks. I’ve offered several tips for getting bank approval for laser check printing in our eGuide on laser check printing for your IBM i. DRV Tech has several customers using laser printing with their bank’s approval. It’s become a mainstream technology for IBM i shops and once it is set up, it’s much easier to deploy and implement than proprietary pre-printed check processing. It really is a superior solution.
For more information on justifying, deploying, and using IBM i laser check printer, see any of the valuable articles related to this post below or contact us at DRV Tech for more information.
Interested in the security and cost savings of laser check printing but you have a lot of questions? Download our new e-guide, with everything you need to know – from facts vs. fictions to how to work with your bank to get approved checks, and more.