What is MICR? and what are common MICR Check Requirements

What is MICR?
Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) is the line of numbers (ten numeric and four special symbols) on a document that relates a transaction to a specific customer’s account. Encoded checks are processed through a sorter, which reads the E-13B printed characters magnetically in order to sort the checks and provide pertinent information to the respective posting application.

MICR Check Requirements
• Print with MICR ink/toner on recommended MICR-BOND paper of at least 24 lb. weight
• Use special type font, E-13B, Common Machine Language, consisting of ten numeric and four special symbols, no alpha letters. The characters must be printed exactly on the ¼ – inch strip centered within the 5/8-inch clear band, leaving a 3/16-inch border top and bottom.
• Validate alignment of MICR characters and numbers with a MICR gauge.
• Ensure all stock is kept secure and do not order more than a one-year supply of checks or deposit tickets.
• Deposit tickets must be designed so that lines and descriptive words do not interfere with the reading of dollar amounts.

Common Reasons Checks Reject
• Checks are printed without MICR ink
• Signature or address interferes with Clear-band area (the horizontal band, 0.625 inch high from the bottom, on the front of a check)
• Incorrect routing number
• Alignment problems (characters not aligned correctly in MICR line)
• Incorrect account number
• Poor ink/toner quality or re-cycled toner
• Missing symbols
• Design issues such as: heavy borders, perforations, enlarged logos, or void pantographs

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