M I C R (pronounced myker) is a recognition system that uses special ink and characters to achieve a secure, high-speed method of reading characters using magnetic variations in their shape and not their optical image.
MICR technology is dependant on the use of specially formulated magnetic ink or ribbons to print information onto documents. The printing of MICR documents requires a controlled process to ensure consistency and quality. Code line information must be printed at a specified height from the bottom of a document (as per APACS standards) in order that any MICR reading device can capture, analyse and translate the magnetic properties of each character.
The most common example is a standard cheque which has all the necessary customer information printed along the bottom ‘code line’. The characters and symbols used on UK cheques are printed in a font known as E13B.
Cognitronics has a number of systems that can be configured to print MICR E13B characters. These encoding devices are all impact printers that use a specially coated ribbon to transfer the magnetic ink onto the paper.
Due to the very high specifications of MICR, Banks, Cash Offices and Redemption Centres can process their documents at very high speeds. In addition MICR offers very high recognition rates as it is not limited by the normal problems of OCR (Optical Character Recognition). For example pen marks across the data will not affect the recognition of the characters.
MICR is not restricted to E13B and financial institutions overseas use a font known as CMC7 where the same magnetic principles are used. It is also possible to read MICR using OCR technology but many of the advantages mentioned above are lost.