MICR, or Magnetic Ink Character Recognition, is a character-recognition system that uses magnetic ink and distinct fonts. This technology is most frequently employed by banks to prevent check fraud. The bottom line of characters on a check is called the MICR line and is made up of the check number, account number, and routing number. Because of the magnetic ink, MICR readers are able to read the check and collect data from the magnetized characters. This allows banks to quickly process account and routing information while also making it difficult for someone to produce a fraudulent check.
MICR is made up of two components magnetic ink and special fonts. There are two different fonts used in the MICR system, with each making up of a combination of digits and unique characters.
- E-13B: This font contains ten digits and four unique characters that are made up of lines, squares, and rectangles. This font is also called the TOAD font because of the names of the unique characters transit, onus, amount, and dash. The E-13B font is standard in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, much of Asia, Central America, and other countries.
- CMC-7: This font is made up of 10 digits and 5 unique characters. Each character is made up of lines and printed in a barcode format. The CMC-7 font is utilized in France, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and other European and South American countries.
Although MICR is mostly known for its use on checks, there are also other uses for this technology including:
- Airline tickets
- Financial forms
- Credit card invoiced
- Deposit tickets
- Insurance premium receipts