MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition)

MICR is a character recognition system that is widely used in the banking industry for cheque processing. It involves using a stylized font and magnetic ink to print characters in a document. When this document needs to be decoded, it passes through a special machine or equipment, which magnetizes the ink and then translates the magnetic information into characters. If required, the same information in the document can also be read optically through OCR. Over the years, MICR has been proven to be a secure and high performance mechanism for processing information.

The numbers typically found on the bottom of a cheque comprising of the cheque number, sort number and account number are usually printed in magnetic ink for use in MICR.

What are the required components for using MICR?

  • Special Magnetic Ink Printers or Laser Printers that use MICR Ink
  • MICR Fonts
  • MICR Scanners

MICR Fonts

The MICR E-13B is a widely accepted standard in the US, Canada, Australia and many other countries for printing MICR characters. The character set of this standard comprise of ten numbers (0..9) and four special symbols(Amount, Domestic, BSB and Dash).

An alternative standard is the CMC-7 developed by the French that is widely used in Europe.