View Full Version : 2 Questions about money
10-15-2002, 08:08 AM
1. I have a check printing program for my computer and I ran out of the blank check forms that came with it. Instead of buying a new package of forms can I use plain old computer paper to print new checks?
2. Does anyone in Chicago know where I can exchange American dollars for foreign currency?
10-15-2002, 08:24 AM
Originally posted by Peanuthead
can I use plain old computer paper to print new checks?
I am led to believe that checks are printed with a special, magnetic ink in their routing- and account-number sections. If this is still correct, then I believe the answer to your question is no, you will have to get preprinted checks. Unless you have a cartridge with this magnetic ink, of course. ;)
10-15-2002, 08:34 AM
No. Ordinary inkjet ink works fine. I used it on the previous 100 checks I printed and they were all routed properly by the bank. It's the paper I'm concerned with.
10-15-2002, 08:41 AM
Hmm. That's strange, because these folks (http://www.micrencodingfonts.com/) and these folks (http://store.yahoo.com/advantagelaser/mictonforche.html) would seem to suggest that there is something special about the ink. On the other hand, you shouldn't ask a barber if you need a haircut.
These folks (http://www.checkprintingsoftware.com/checkstock/) will sell you "check stock" but also sell software that will print on plain paper, so it looks possible to me.
10-15-2002, 09:09 AM
Don't most (large) banks change money? Here in New York they do.
Maybe find a Thomas Cooke, or an American Express office.
10-15-2002, 09:32 AM
I doubt most banks use magnetic ink these days. OCR scanning does the job (especially since the characters are uniform).
In fact, you may notice that many business checks have a notice something like "This check is printed in blue and black ink" or "This check has microprinting" the like. This is because people can easily duplicate checks using a copier. If checks were magnetic, it would show up when they're processed, but since they're not, other security measures are needed.
My copy of Quicken makes no mention of needing special ink for the checks.
10-15-2002, 09:33 AM
It used to be essential, when optical scanning technology was new, rare & expensive, to have magnetic ink for the MICR codes on your checks. (That's the 'M' in 'MICR'.) Depending on exactly where your check is routed, plain ink might slow it up a bit in getting where it needs to go, but the magnetic coding is not necessary these days-it'll still get there.
In my experience, banks in Chicago did not change money. Try Thomas Cook.
10-15-2002, 09:37 AM
I retract my magnetic ink statement.
I was misinformed.
10-15-2002, 11:09 AM
I'd be surprized that any major bank branch wouldn't change money, at least to some common currencies. My local bank did so here in Arlington MA for British Pounds and Euros. You may need to have an account there, however.
10-15-2002, 12:08 PM
This site (http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/chk/20010320a.asp?prodtype=bank) suggests that plain paper is fine, as long as the check has all of the legally necessary information.
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