What is MICR?

MICR is an acronym for Magnetic Ink Character Recognition and it refers to the formulation of toner used to print the specialized font at the bottom of checks and other negotiable documents. Unlike regular laser toner, MICR toner contains iron oxide, which is required by the Federal Reserve to meet standards of the check-clearing process.

What Does MICR Stand For?

MICR Line Explained

We are frequently asked - “What is MICR?” and “What does MICR stand for?” MICR is an acronym for Magnetic Ink Character Recognition and it refers to the formulation of toner used to print the specialized font at the bottom of checks and other negotiable documents. Unlike regular laser toner, MICR toner contains iron oxide, which is required by the Federal Reserve to meet standards of the check-clearing process.

Why Is the MICR Line Quality So Important?

Once a check is deposited into a financial institution, it is sent to a central location for processing, where high-speed readers/sorters read the MICR line information by sending a magnetic charge to the paper and reading the routing number and the account numbers. The checks are then sorted based on the MICR line information. Checks are usually sorted multiple times and then sent to internal holding, clearing houses, the Federal Reserve, or other destinations. Misread or unreadable MICR lines are repaired at this stage and the repair process adds costs and delays for the financial institution. These costs are often passed to the institution that printed the check.

Our Quality MICR Printers

Checks where the payee and payor accounts are from the same institution are referred to as “on-us” checks, which get processed and stored internally. Checks drawn on other institutions are dispatched to other clearing agencies for further processing. The clearing agent also utilizes reader/sorter equipment to read and sort the checks by the payor banks, where they are typically processed again by high-speed reader/sorter equipment. Checks must withstand multiple passes through reader/sorter equipment and the MICR line must remain durable and legible.

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