MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition)

Magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) is a character recognition system. MICR technology is used by banks. The numbers and characters imprinted on the bottom of cheques (usually the cheque (serial) number, sort code (bank routing/transit number), and account number) are printed using printer cartridges, or ink cartridges, containing special printer inks, the magnetic ink. A special magnetic ink character reader is used to read the ink printed on cheques.

Magnetic ink character recognition provides a secure, high speed method of scanning and processing information. Magnetic ink character recognition or MICR is not to be confused with Optical Character Recognition or OCR, which allows a machine to recongise characters, handwritten or typed, using an optical mechanism.

MICR on a cheque – provided by NOIRE PAY
Example of a computer-generated MICR cheque, c 1975.

 

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