OEM vs. Remanufactured MICR Toner - Know the Difference

Nathan Cross September 4, 2023

In today's world, businesses and organizations need to rely heavily on efficient and secure printing, particularly when it comes to printing checks and other sensitive financial documents. One crucial component of check printing is the MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) toner cartridge, which is specifically designed for printing important information on checks. MICR toner is a toner with a special magnetic additive that allows the account and routing numbers on a check to be read automatically by machines when processing checks. Because MICR is a requirement by the ABA (American Banking Association), any check without MICR toner will have to be processed manually, and the party who submitted it will receive additional fines or even a rejection. 

So, if your business does any kind of check printing, you will want MICR toner cartridges to ensure no fines or rejections. But how do you know which is the right kind to use? When choosing MICR ink cartridges, you'll encounter two primary options: OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and remanufactured cartridges. In this blog post, we'll explore the key differences between these two choices and explain why OEM MICR ink cartridges are the superior option.


What's the difference between OEM and remanufactured toner cartridges?


Before diving into the comparison, let's clarify what each of these terms means:


What does OEM mean?

OEM means Original Equipment Manufacturer. When you see OEM, know that this means original.  These cartridges are built by the same manufacturer as your printer, like HP, ensuring that they match and are compatible your specific printer model. What sets them apart is their brand-new condition, tailor-made to deliver top-notch performance. OEM toner cartridges are renowned for their unmatched reliability, consistent output, and ability to produce high-quality prints. In addition to being compatible with your printer, OEM toner cartridges are made by the manufacturer, warranties and customer support are available if you need it.


What is a remanufactured toner cartridge?

Non-OEM, commonly known as remanufactured cartridges, compatible toner cartridge, or a clone cartridge, are exactly what their name implies. They are essentially recycled and refilled by third-party companies, making them a more budget-friendly option compared to OEM cartridges. In the case of MICR toner, recycled toner cartridges can start off as non-MICR and be filled with MICR toner. However, it's essential to tread carefully because the quality of remanufactured cartridges can be quite unpredictable. Oftentimes, the cheaper the cartridge, the cheaper the quality. Because MICR toner is a requirement by the ABA, cheap MICR toner printed on your check isn't what you want to rely on. 

There's also a higher risk of compatibility issues with your printer, and can potentially pose a threat to your printer's health. Remanufactured toner cartridges also don't come with any warranty or quality assurance guarantee, so if the quality of print isn't up to par, or the cartridge is doing damage to your printer, you won't be able to call anyone for support. So, while they may save you some money upfront, the trade-offs might not be worth it in the long run.


Why OEM MICR Toner Is Superior for Check Printing


While remanufactured cartridges may offer a lower upfront cost, the numerous advantages of OEM toner cartridges in terms of quality, compliance, and warranty, make them the superior choice for businesses and organizations. 

Quality Assurance: OEM MICR ink cartridges are produced by the original manufacturer of your printer, ensuring the highest standards of quality and performance. These cartridges undergo rigorous testing and quality control measures to meet industry standards. Every component is designed and manufactured to work seamlessly with your specific printer model, guaranteeing consistent and reliable results.

On the other hand, remanufactured MICR ink cartridges are often refilled or rebuilt with recycled components, which may not meet the same stringent quality standards. The variations in quality control and component compatibility can lead to printing errors, smudges, and even damaged checks, jeopardizing your organization's financial transactions.


Compliance: The MICR printing process is critical for ensuring the accuracy and security of financial documents. OEM MICR ink cartridges are specifically formulated to meet the precise requirements of MICR technology, including the unique magnetic properties needed for reliable bank check processing. Using OEM cartridges helps ensure compliance with industry standards and regulations.

Remanufactured MICR cartridges, however, may not adhere to the same strict standards. The use of generic or incompatible components can compromise the readability of the printed characters, increasing the risk of check processing errors. additional fees, or rejections. 


Warranty and Support: Purchasing OEM MICR ink cartridges comes with the added benefit of manufacturer warranties and support. If you encounter any issues with the cartridges or your printer, the original manufacturer and OEM partners like TROY, will provide assistance and replacement cartridges to resolve the problem promptly. This level of support is invaluable for businesses that rely on secure and efficient check printing.

In contrast, remanufactured cartridges may not offer the same level of warranty or support. You may find it challenging to get assistance in the event of compatibility issues, printing errors, or other technical problems. 


TROY Group: Your HP OEM partner

TROY innovative manufacturer


As an esteemed HP OEM partner, TROY specializes in offering a comprehensive range of OEM (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) products. We ensure that our MICR solutions are seamlessly integrated with HP's high-quality printers, guaranteeing optimal quality, reliability, and compliance for businesses and organizations that require secure check and financial document printing. TROY Group's commitment to maintaining the highest quality standards and adherence to industry regulations sets us apart as a trusted provider of OEM MICR products, providing customers with the confidence they need in their check printing processes. TROY group's compatible HP products include MICR ink and MICR Toner Secure; MICR ink with a special additive that releases a red dye whenever check washing or alterations of any kind are attempted on a check, making it the world's most fraud-resistant toner. 


While remanufactured ink cartridges may appear to be a cost-effective alternative to OEM cartridges, the potential risks they pose to your printer's performance, longevity, and print quality make OEM cartridges the superior choice for most users. OEM cartridges provide peace of mind, consistent quality, and protection for your printer investment in the long run. When it comes to printing, it's often wise to prioritize quality and reliability over short-term savings.

Visit TROY's website for more information on our OEM partnership with HP, and our products. 

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