Stay One Step Ahead: Why MICR Toner Fails to Foil Check Washing


In an era marked by technological advancements and digital financial transactions, it might seem like physical checks have become obsolete. However, the truth is that checks are still a secure form of payment for personal or business transactions. In fact, 81% of businesses are still using checks in their everyday B2B transactions, making it one of the most common forms of payment between business.  With a physical check, businesses are protecting themselves from hacking, phishing, or ransomware attacks that come with digital or online payments. However, check fraud is still a problem, with techniques such as check washing making a return in 2023. Many think check washing can be prevented simply with MICR, but is MICR ink secure?

In this blog post, we’ll explore check washing and MICR ink, and how TROY’s MICR Toner Secure can be the bridge to total check security.


What is check washing?


Check fraud is a pervasive and costly problem that affects both individuals and businesses. Check fraud is only rising in 2023, with 680,000 cases reported in 2022, nearly doubling from the previous year. Check fraud encompasses a wide range of illegal activities, including counterfeit checks, altered checks, and check washing, one of the most common techniques.

Check washing is a process in which a criminal will literally wash off sections of the check including the amount, payee name, or the banking and routing numbers with simple household chemicals,  and change the information to benefit them. This may sound like an outdated scheme, but these old techniques have made a return in 2023In fact, Point Predictive's Chief Fraud Strategist Frank McKenna hypothesizes that check fraud will hit $24 billion in 2023, a 50% increase from the last time it was measured in 2018.  


Will MICR toner protect against check washing?


We get this question a lot. Before we answer, let's dive into what MICR is, and what it means in the world of checks. MICR, or Magnetic Ink Character Recognition is magnetic ink required to be printed on checks by the American Banking Institution so banks can process checks automatically. MICR toner contains iron oxide particles that are magnetically detectable by bank processing equipment, so there is no need for manual check processing.

You may have read or heard from outside sources that MICR toner in check printing is what keeps checks secure, but that’s a misconception. Check fraud would not be rising in 2023 if MICR itself was enough to prevent check washing. The only protection MICR truly gives you is protection against incurring penalties from the bank for submitting a check that does not abide by regulations. Your checks are still vulnerable to fraud, even if you’ve used MICR toner to print them.

Because of these facts, choosing the right MICR toner is important for your business. A banking executive has seen it firsthand after making a switch to cheap MICR, telling TROY professionals, We’ve been targeted for check washing because we wanted to save money on MICR toner and are experiencing significant fraud.”

So, to answer the original question, no. MICR ink will not protect against check washing. However, TROY’s MICR Toner Secure solution will.

TROY Group's MICR Toner Secure Protects Against Check Washing


TROY Group, an HP OEM partner and leading provider of secure document printing solutions, has taken check security to the next level with its MICR Toner Secure technology. MICR Toner Secure is an ABA-compliant and machine-readable type of MICR toner, but what sets it apart is the added layer of security it provides with tamper-evident technology:


Tamper-Evident Red Dye Release: MICR Toner Secure is equipped with a tamper-evident feature, where a red dye activates and releases upon any alteration of a check. This means any time check washing is attempted on a check printed with MICR Toner Secure, the check will be ruined and the banks will be alerted of the fraud immediately, simply by ease of detection. No other MICR toner in the world can do this, making it the World’s Most Fraud Resistant Toner. 





Benefits of MICR Toner Secure


MICR Toner Secure not only reduces the risk of fraud, but has several other benefits as well. As an HP OEM partner, TROY is the only company authorized to take an HP OEM cartridge and fill it with our MICR Toner Secure, maintaining the OEM quality, security, and compatibility with your MICR printer.


Other benefits include:

  • Enhanced Security: TROY Group's MICR Toner Secure provides an extra layer of security with its tamper-resistant technology, safeguarding checks against fraud attempts and alterations like check washing.

  • Deterrent Effect: The prospect of being caught in the act with a check that visibly exposes their fraudulent actions can deter potential fraudsters from even attempting check washing on a check printed with MICR Toner Secure.

  • Cost Savings: By preventing check fraud, businesses can save significant amounts of money that would otherwise be lost to fraudulent activities.

  • Peace of Mind: Individuals and organizations can enjoy peace of mind knowing that their checks are protected by cutting-edge security technology.
TellerMICR Toner Secure (4)




Stop Check Washing Today


TROY Group's MICR Toner Secure represents a groundbreaking advancement in check security technology. Its ability to release a red dye when fraud is attempted not only thwarts potential fraudsters but also simplifies the detection process, making it an invaluable tool in the fight against check washing. In a world where financial security is paramount, TROY Group's MICR Toner Secure offers individuals and businesses the confidence they need when using checks for their financial transactions.

To explore MICR Toner Secure options, visit our store. 



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