MICR: What Is a Magnetic Ink Character Recognition Line?

Underneath the surface of every character printed with MICR ink lies a hidden magnetic code that is indecipherable to the human eye. Magnetic ink contains iron oxide particles that are magnetically charged when printed. Embracing MICR technology guarantees a reliable and efficient check processing system that benefits all stakeholders involved. Banks and financial institutions are the primary users of MICR technology. They rely on MICR to process millions of checks daily, allowing for quick and accurate check clearance.

As checks continue to be an essential part of financial transactions, MICR plays a crucial role in ensuring seamless processing and enhanced security for both businesses and individuals. MICR technology has transformed check https://business-accounting.net/ processing, enabling faster, more accurate, and secure transactions. By incorporating MICR technology at the point of sale, retailers can process checks efficiently, eliminating the need for manual entry and reducing errors.

In such a fast-paced world riddled with digital precautions and overt safety options for almost everything, you would think that our physical banking security would be adapting just as fast. It’s commonplace for phones to scan your fingerprint or even do a facial recognition scan to authorize payment. It seems like it’s ripped straight out of a 1970’s sci-fi film, but these methods of authorization act as a much-needed extra gate of security. By the Mid 1950s, the General Electric Computer Laboratory, altogether with the Standard Research Institute, brought the first-ever MICR automized system to process cheques with the E- 13B font system. MICR technology is of paramount importance to the banking industry for several reasons. This website is using a security service to protect itself from online attacks.

  1. The font is readable by a computer while still legible enough for a human to get information from the markings.
  2. A range of fraud types exists, including tax fraud, credit card fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud, and bankruptcy fraud.
  3. MICR, though predominantly used in the banking industry, also has other applications where there is a requirement of high security.
  4. Financial institutions, businesses, government agencies or other organizations who do not meet the ANSI MICR standards may be forced to pay additional fees and charges.

The encoding of check information in magnetic ink ensures precise and accurate data capture, reducing the likelihood of errors during processing. The MICR digital numbers are sensitive to the magnetic field and are printed using technology with a special ink recognition line to allow the readability of characters. It is essential to consider the range of document types you will be dealing with, such as invoices, receipts, forms, contracts, or checks. Consider the variability in document formats, layouts, and fonts you expect to encounter.


During the early years of the 1950s, checks were processed manually by bank tellers using either a Top Tab Key or Sort-A-Matic process of ‘automation’. Thousands of dollars could be lost due to a wrongfully punched hole or a check being placed in the wrong sorting slot. Even by 1950s standards, these methods were slow and had the potential to be detrimental to a financial institution if used incorrectly. MICR font- This is used to read documents and is printed with the magnetic ink prepared by iron oxide.

If a document lacks the magnetic ink, the MICR reader won’t be able to recognize the information, thereby providing a high degree of security against fraud. Magnetic ink character recognition works by printing a MICR line on a check using magnetic ink or toner. The magnetic ink, which usually contains iron oxide, enables a computer to read the MICR numbers, even if they’ve been covered by marks or writing. While magnetic ink character recognition was first used to print information on checks, the technology has been adapted to other applications. It is called a magnetic ink character recognition line in reference to the print technology that is used to enable a machine to read, process, and record information. Around that time, the Stanford Research Institute was hard at work crafting their Electronic Recording Method of Accounting, also known as ERMA.

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If you are working with a reputable check printing company, you may hear them bring up MICR every now and then. This is a type of technology that can help to reduce fraud and improve financial security. To see if it is necessary for your business, learn a little more about how it works. Considering data extraction speed is crucial, especially for companies dealing with massive volumes of documents or unstructured data.

E13-B is used on the ‘MICR line’, which is found on the bottom of the check and includes important information such as the Account, Routing, and Check numbers. The E13-B font is the standard MICR font used in North America and other various parts of the world. Based on customer feedback, we prioritized these new account options when creating our website.

Financial institutions, businesses, government agencies or other organizations who do not meet the ANSI MICR standards may be forced to pay additional fees and charges. By utilizing a check printing software, an organization can streamline the issuing of checks, especially if they are also using blank check stock. This is because the software allows the users to fill in the amount, payee, and other important details – in some instances, even the payer’s signature. This frees up time for authorized signers to focus on tasks most important to your business. It is usually printed on a small white band at the bottom of the cheque or other instruments. The magnetic ink that is used for printing can be read by the machines even if it is covered by signature or other stamps or cancellation lines, etc.

What is MICR (magnetic ink character recognition)?

More, the rate of decline in checks has recently flattened, even seeing a modest uptick in 2017. Despite many things working against it, the check remains a preferable payment method for many, as evidenced by 17.3 billion items exchanged in 2018. Please contact our support team to help you choose the right MICR toner for your printer.

It relies on the use of specially formulated magnetic ink and a unique MICR line to store and transmit critical check data. This technology has been in use since the mid-1950s and remains an integral part of the check processing system. MICR, though predominantly used in the banking industry, also has other applications where there is a requirement of high security.

Why You Still Need MICR

Financial institutions prefer MICR-encoded checks because their processing can be automated, resulting in faster and more accurate check clearance. MICR technology has significantly improved the speed and efficiency of check processing, ensuring that funds are transferred securely and promptly. Secondly, the MICR printing equipment must be properly maintained and calibrated regularly. This ensures consistent and accurate printing of the magnetic characters on checks. As a result, financial institutions can easily integrate MICR into their check processing infrastructure without significant modifications or investments.

MICR is a technology used in the banking and financial industry for processing checks and other negotiable documents. The technology allows machines to read and interpret the unique characters printed on the bottom of checks, known as the MICR line. Despite the growing trend towards digitization, the need for efficient, reliable, and secure check processing ensures that MICR technology remains discuss the features and application of an micr relevant. MICR is specifically designed for the processing of checks and uses magnetic ink characters, while OCR is a more general technology that can read and interpret printed or handwritten text in various documents. MICR – including the E-13B font printed in magnetic ink – was established as the standard for negotiable documents by the American Bankers Association (ABA) in 1958.

Opt for a technology that can effectively handle the diverse documents you will be processing. OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) are two distinct technologies that play pivotal roles in data capture and document processing. While both technologies are designed to read characters and convert them into digital formats, they operate on fundamentally different principles. MICR lines help facilitate automatic check-clearing when banks send their checks to central processing systems at the end of the day. They are designed to be easily read by people as well, so that check information can be communicated easily.

Attempts to tamper with the MICR characters would result in distortion, easily detectable during processing. The MICR line is used to facilitate the automated processing of financial documents, such as checks, by encoding essential information in a standardized format. This enables banks and other financial institutions to quickly and accurately process the large volume of checks and other negotiable instruments they receive daily. Each industry has unique document types, regulatory requirements, and operational demands.