MICR (which can also be read as my-ker) means Magnetic Ink Character Recognition. The ANSI or American National Standards Institute has made a definition of MICR-this is the accepted machine language specification that is utilized in payment transactions (or bank checks) on paper.
Characters are printed with the use of a special MICR toner. This type of toner is made of a special chemical compound called iron oxide. Once printed, the characters are read by special high speed magnetic equipment. MICR printing requires a standard pattern or syntax which gives the bank the necessary details such as the account number, check number, routing number, and the amount of the check to be cashed.
Banks have come up with such security features to counter the ever-growing number of crooks who are trying to steal money from them. Besides, more people have now found other uses for their bank checks especially people who are constantly on the go. MICR has made it possible to standardize electronic processing, reading and handling of bank checks.
MICR characters (which are printed with CMC-7 or E-13B font) need specific equipment and toners in order to become readable. MICR only becomes possible because of the magnetic toner that is used. Also, these characters have to follow a certain pattern in order to be analyzed by the reading machine. Aside from the reading machine, a check sorter is also utilized. There is no way that an ordinary bank crook would be able to decipher the MICR characters without using these equipments.
To be able to print the MICR characters, a special printer has also been made for this specific function. An MICR laser printer is made just for this purpose. Although the usual desktop printer could also be employed (as long as an MICR toner has been used), still, MICR laser printer works better.
This type of printer has to work hand-in-hand with a magnetically charged ink or toner to be able to function; and since this is equipment that is used in delicate bank transactions, it has to give out consistent quality of printing and the correct character placement throughout the entire surface of the printing area. Only then would the characters become readable to the electronic fingerprint-reading machine.
Since the introduction of such innovations, bank security has been taken to a higher level. Business processes are now highly efficient and users can now print their checks and pass security checks with just one reading. Such is the magic of technological advancement when applied to banking practices.
Caitlina Fuller is a freelance writer. MICR only becomes possible because of the magnetic toner that is used. Also, these characters have to follow a certain pattern in order to be analyzed by the reading machine. An MICR laser printer is made just for this purpose. Although the usual desktop printer could also be employed (as long as an MICR toner has been used), still, MICR laser printer works better.