What Are The Different Types Of Business Checks?
Business checks can take a variety of forms. In this article, we’ll explain the main types of checks that are commonly available for business use.
Computer or Laser/Inkjet checks are primarily used to print checks directly from an accounting software using a laser or inkjet printer.
The most common computer business check formats are:
Top-of-page, middle-of-page, bottom-of-page, and 3-on-page checks
All these formats (except 3-on-page) are often referred to as voucher checks because they include two stubs that can be used for recordkeeping—one for the business and the other for the employee or vendor receiving the check. There are perforations between each of these sections for easy separation.
Different accounting software has different default print formats. Your choice of print format will primarily depend on which software your business uses.
The top-of-page format is the most widely supported format with a check on top of the sheet and 2 voucher stubs on the bottom and is compatible with QuickBooks®, Quicken®, Rent Manager®, and many other software brands that use the top of the page format.
The middle-of-page format is recommended for users of Peachtree/Sage 50®, TSS®, Softpro®, Landtech®, and many other software brands that use the middle of the page format.
The bottom-of-page format is often used with certain custom accounting software commonly found in the healthcare industry and is recommended for Paradox® and many other software brands that use the bottom of page check format.
The 3-on-page format is a paper-efficient format, mostly appropriate when you have no need for the record-keeping stubs. They are used by businesses, non-profits, education, and foundations. These checks are 3 ½" each in size with a ½" strip at the bottom of each page in order to make it a standard-sized sheet.
Also note that the different formats listed above are sometimes called check-on-top, check-in-middle, and check-at-bottom.
Equal Part Format
Some computerized accounting systems use voucher checks in an equal part format. These are 3 equal parts (check and 2 stubs) that fit together on an 8 ½" x 11" sheet of paper.
These checks use the standard business-sized width, but instead of the standard 3.5” height they measure slightly higher at 3.66”, which equals 1/3rd of a standard 11” sheet of paper. The first part is the check and the other 2 parts are the vouchers, one for the payee, and the other for the issuer. They are perforated for easy separation. The check and vouchers are all equal in size. Remote Landlord real estate management software is one of the few that use equal part format.
Manual checks are for those who prefer writing out their checks by hand. Some businesses do not issue checks in bulk, or only use checks occasionally in their business. Some businesses prefer the personal touch of a hand-written check when paying vendors. For some, manual checks may even be less time consuming than working through an accounting software every time they need to cut a check.
The most common style of manual checks is the Standard 3 on a page checks found on this page. These sheets of checks have 7 holes to fit into the 7 ring check binders, also available for sale on our website.
Whatever the reason why you prefer manual checks, there are considerations to keep in mind when ordering them. The first is the form in which you want the manual checks. The two primary options are:
Checkbook format, with a book of single checks bound together with an adhesive
Individual sheets with three checks to a page
These formats are simply a matter of preference. Other considerations include whether or not you want an accounting stub included with each check. You can also order carbon copies of each check. The two options here are:
1 part manual check, which includes only the check and no carbon copy
2 part manual check, which includes the check and a single copy underneath
TechChecks offers an array of specifications and layouts to ensure that your manual checks fit your needs.
Continuous checks are extremely long sheets of checks that are fed into a special kind of printer called a pin-fed printer. Continuous checks are available both with single voucher stubs or without stubs. If you need to print a large number of checks quickly, continuous checks are the way to go.
Pressure Seal Checks
Pressure seal checks are a special type of check that can be sent without an envelope. They are commonly used for rebates and by some payroll companies.
Pressure seal checks are sealed using two “cohesives” which adhere only to each other and only when very high pressure is applied by a pressure seal machine. The folded check is then opened by tearing the sealed edges off, following a specific sequence of steps ordered by number.
There are a variety of advantages to pressure seal checks.
The first is cost. Pressure seal checks cost more than regular checks, but the total cost is lower because of the absence of envelopes. The initial cost of the pressure seal machine is something to consider, however.
The second is time. Pressure seal machines can seal large numbers of checks very quickly, automating the otherwise manual process of sealing a check in an envelope.
The third is security. It is very difficult to open a pressure-sealed check and then reseal it convincingly.
Other documents that may use a pressure seal include utility bills, invoices, test results, and tax forms.
If you have all of the tools necessary to print every component of a check in-house, then you may order blank checks, but understand that blank checks may require additional effort and resources. You will need both an accounting software that accommodates a blank check layout and a printer capable of printing with magnetic ink (see MICR line explanation below).
Wondering why you would want a blank check?
Some customers prefer blank checks because they may be less susceptible to scammers who would prefer a pre-printed check with much of the vital information already in place. Businesses with different facilities or varying check designs and needs may prefer blank checks as a means for printing their different checks.
If you have an accounting software for printing blank checks and a printer capable of printing magnetic ink for the MICR line on each check, you have two of the three requirements for printing blank checks in-house. Third, you will need to be willing to load and unload magnetic ink into the printer when it is time to print the MICR line for each check. (Remember that a much easier alternative to this is to order pre-printed checks from TechChecks’ pre-printed checks with no need to worry about all these different steps).
If you are set on ordering blank checks, know that not all blank check stock - the paper the checks get printed on - is created equally. Be sure to order your blank check stock from a reputable source such as TechChecks. Banks may refuse to accept checks printed on substandard stock, and such refusal may cost you.
Another consideration when ordering blank check stock is its compatibility with your accounting software. Like computer checks, you can order blank checks in four different layouts. They are:
Top of page
Middle of page
Bottom of page
3 to a page
Your choice of which layout to select will depend on the specifications of the accounting software that you use to print checks, and whether that software accommodates the use of blank checks at all.
Feature To Be Aware Of For Blank Checks: MICR Ink
Note: As mentioned earlier, the concern about MICR Ink applies only if you are ordering blank checks. Those who order pre-printed checks from TechChecks can be assured that all your checks will utilize high-quality magnetic ink, guaranteed to avoid any bank fees or check rejections.
So, for those who plan to order blank checks:
MICR stands for Magnetic Ink Character Recognition. Many banks have moved their check-scanning operations to OCR technology, which stands for Optical Character Recognition. OCR technology scans images and converts them into text, and represents a break from MICR technology.
Still, most banks require a MICR line printed in magnetic ink in order to properly read the check. If a check does not have a MICR line printed with magnetic ink of the proper quality, it may be rejected by the payers bank
The MICR line on each check contains the check number, routing number and account number for that check. These three components are written on checks in regular ink, but having them in magnetic ink as the MICR line allows for high-speed machine check processing.
The MICR line and magnetic ink go hand-in-hand, as some check-processing machines require magnetic ink to read the line. So, if you have the MICR line printed with some ink other than magnetic ink, the depositor will likely have to pay a fee for the check to be processed manually, and it could take longer for money to enter the depositors account. Or, the check could be rejected outright by banks that require all deposited checks to have a MICR line.
If you are ordering blank checks, you must ensure that your printer is capable of printing MICR lines in magnetic ink.
Most checks include at least a minimum of security features. Businesses that don’t use checks with security features may be liable if their accounts are debited by scammers using fraudulent copies of their checks.
Security features are both visible and hidden and are used to deter potential check fraud. These security features, which are extremely difficult to replicate, cause any copies or scans of the checks to be void, preventing them from being illicitly copied.
SecuDocs® is our proprietary brand of high-security computer checks, with security features far exceeding industry standards. Some of these fraud deterrent features include micro printing, invisible fibers, genuine watermark, chemically reactive paper, thermochromic ink, and more.
What if I use a non-standard check size?
Companies that use custom accounting software to better meet their specific needs may create their own custom check formats and specifications. At Tech Checks, we specialize in producing custom checks in all specifications and all sizes.
How can I print the remaining checks on a 3 per-page sheet?
If you use the 3-on-page format, you don’t have to use all three checks at the same time. Even if you just print on one of the checks and tear it off, you can still print on the remaining checks using a Laser Taxi, a reusable adhesive 8 ½" x 11" sheet that carries the remaining checks through the printer. Each Laser Taxi sheet can be used up to 30 times.
A Laser Taxi can also be used for printing on other small documents such as envelopes or labels.