If you are currently the owner of a small business, you might find yourself wondering how to print checks.
Over the past few years, the check printing industry has shifted with modern technology. In the past, you would have to place an order with your bank and wait several weeks for your checks to arrive. Today, with online check writing software, you can print and mail checks instantly, with just a few simple clicks.
There are reasons why a business might want to shift towards printing checks online. For example, most modern software makes it easy to create customized checks that align with your brand. This will help reinforce the strength of your brand and help project an image of professionalism.
In this article, we will discuss everything your business needs to know about check printing and mailing. Though you may be hesitant to replace your old systems with something new, making this change can really pay off in the long run.
What does my business need in order to print checks?
In order for your business to write checks on its own, you will first need to begin by gathering basic check printing materials. Unfortunately, printing checks on your own will require you to purchase a bit more than ordinary printing paper.
The materials needed to print checks include:
- Check Printing Software: Check printing software makes it easy to organize your checks, add special features, and create the professional touches you need. QuickBooks and Xero among the most popular options available, though working with check software from SmartPayables may be a better option.
- Check Stock Paper: as you have probably noticed, check paper is a bit different from ordinary printer paper. By purchasing thicker paper (stock paper), checks become more difficult to alter or forge.
- MICR Font: Magnetic Ink Characters (MICR) are a specific font that is easier for computers to read. This type of font will be essential for printing checks.
- Magnetic Ink: as another added safety measure, checks have a special type of ink known as thermochromatic ink.
- Industrial Printer: many desktop printers (the kinds you probably have at home) cannot handle printing ordinary checks. Because of this, your business may need to purchase an industrial printer capable of handling larger loads.
Naturally, making an investment in check printing materials makes sense for some businesses, but not others. Before deciding which path forward makes the most sense for you, it will be important to conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis.
How can my business print checks online?
The check printing process is not particularly complicated, but there are still multiple different steps involved along the way.
- Step One: decide whether you want to invest in check printing materials or choose an outsourced check printing partner.
- Step Two: design the checks—using select software—to ensure they are readable, legally compliant, and aligned with your company image.
- Step Three: add essential details, such as routing numbers and account numbers. Printing the recipient’s name and the check value (rather than writing them by hand) will create a much more professional appearance.
- Step Four: incorporate all other important information, such as your personal contact information (top left) and the check number (top right), in the designated location.
- Step Five: double check to make sure that all information is included and is accurate. If this is your first time printing checks, consider looking at previous examples.
- Step Six: print the checks and, before mailing, make sure everything was printed correctly.
If you are mailing your checks, you may also want to consider professionally printing the corresponding envelopes as well.
Are there companies available that can help me print checks?
There are plenty of instances where companies will want to print and mail each of their checks on their own. However, in the era of specialization, many companies have decided to look for some outside help. Currently, there are many professional check printing partners available for your business to choose from.
There are several reasons your business may want to outsource its check printing and mailing needs. Because the partner you’ll be working with is a check printing specialist, they will already have pre-established protocols that make it easy for your business to begin printing in a matter of just a few days. Additionally, because things such as industrial printers, envelopes, card stock, and ink were purchased in bulk, your business may be able to reduce its total check-printing costs.
When should you outsource my check printing needs?
As you will find when deciding whether to outsource any component of your business, there are plenty of details that need to be considered before making any final decisions. When contemplating which path forward makes the most sense for your business, ask yourself the following questions:
- How many checks does my business currently print per month?
- Does my business already have the materials needed to print checks on its own?
- Which special features—such as security ink and company logos—do I hope to incorporate into my checks?
- What is the marginal cost of printing additional checks? Do these costs decrease as my business expands?
If your business has a high demand for check printing, outsourcing may be your best option. Typically, the more checks your business prints, the more you will save on a per unit basis. If your business requires a large number of customized features, then outsourcing will probably be your best course of action.
What should my business look for in a check printing partner?
If you have made the decision to outsource your check printing responsibilities, the next choice you will need to make is who you plan on working with. With many different check printing companies available to choose from, it can be difficult to know which is best for your business.
When comparing your options, consider taking a look at the following variables:
- Does the company offer an API that makes it easy to manage checks from afar?
- What is the company’s current cost structure?
- In addition to check printing, are there any other services—such as statement printing and mailing—that my business can have access to?
- Is there a representative available that is willing and able to answer my questions?
These are just a few of the questions that your business may want to be asking. After taking the time to do your research, speak with a representative, and get a cost estimate, the choice that is right for you should be a bit clearer.
Check printing and mailing is an essential component of the business cycle. Without checks, vendors will not be paid and your business will inevitably suffer as a result. Whether you plan to print checks on your own or outsource to someone with more resources and experience, it will be important for your business to understand each component of the check printing process.
For more information about online check printing, contact our payment experts at SmartPayables and call (720) 287-0030 or visit our contact form here.