Magnetic Ink Character Recognition


Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) is a technology primarily used by financial institutions to process and verify checks and financial documents. It involves the use of magnetic ink that contains iron oxide to print specific characters, usually at the bottom of checks. MICR allows for fast, efficient, and accurate machine reading of information, reducing the possibility of errors during processing.

Key Takeaways

  1. Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) is a technology used mainly in the banking industry to facilitate the processing and clearance of cheques and other financial documents.
  2. MICR uses magnetic ink and a specialized font to print characters that can be easily read by both humans and machines, ensuring accuracy and efficiency in processing transactions.
  3. One of the key benefits of MICR is the reduction of errors during the document processing, as the magnetic ink allows for quick and accurate sorting and verification, thanks to its resistance to smearing and tampering.


Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) is an important technology term as it refers to a specialized printing technology used mainly by the banking industry for fast and secure processing of paper-based payment instruments, such as checks.

MICR uses magnetic ink and unique fonts to print easily readable and machine-recognizable characters, such as the account number, routing number, and check number, on financial documents.

This technological innovation significantly reduces human errors, minimizes fraud, and allows for efficient automation of the banking sector, thus improving the overall financial experience for both banks and customers.


Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) serves as a specialized technology primarily employed in the banking industry to facilitate and expedite the processing of cheques and other financial documents. This technology involves the use of magnetic ink to print specific characters on the bottom of cheques and other documents, which can then be read by dedicated MICR readers, even if the characters are covered by stamps or signatures.

In addition to increasing the speed at which these documents can be processed, MICR significantly mitigates the risk of errors and fraud, ensuring that transactions are both accurate and secure. MICR plays a pivotal role in streamlining the process of cheque clearing and validation within financial institutions.

The technology allows banks to automatically read the account number, bank code, and cheque number encoded in the magnetic ink, thereby reducing instances of human error and expediting funds transfers between accounts. Furthermore, MICR enhances the overall efficiency of the banking industry, as it enables financial institutions to process a large volume of cheques in a short period of time whilst maintaining high levels of accuracy, security, and cost-effectiveness.

It continues to be an essential tool for banks worldwide, even in the face of the growing prevalence of digital transactions.

Examples of Magnetic Ink Character Recognition

Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) is a technology that is primarily used by the banking industry to streamline check processing and verification. It involves using magnetic ink to print characters, which can be easily read by MICR-enabled machines. Here are three real-world examples of MICR technology usage:

Check Processing: The most common application of MICR is in check processing, where the bank routing number, account number, and the check number are printed on the bottom of a check using MICR fonts and magnetic ink. When a check is deposited in a bank, it is passed through an MICR reader, which can quickly and accurately identify the account information for clearing and settlement purposes.

Bank Statements: Some banks use MICR to print account numbers on monthly bank statements, making it easier for customers to provide the correct information when making transactions, such as setting up automatic bill payments or transferring money.

Payroll Processing: Companies often use MICR technology to print paychecks for their employees, ensuring that the paychecks can be accurately and efficiently processed by the banking system. This helps to minimize errors and improve overall efficiency in payroll processing.

FAQ: Magnetic Ink Character Recognition

What is Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR)?

Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) is a technology used mainly in the banking industry for quick and accurate processing of paper documents, such as checks and bank drafts. MICR uses special magnetic ink to print characters on the document, which can then be read by dedicated MICR readers, providing faster and more reliable data entry.

What are the main advantages of using MICR?

The main advantages of using MICR include high accuracy, increased speed in processing paper documents, and reduced manual errors. As a result, MICR technology significantly reduces costs and improves efficiency in the banking and financial sectors.

What are the common MICR applications?

The most common application of MICR technology is in processing checks and bank drafts. It is also used in other industries that require efficient and secure handling of paper documents, such as insurance claims processing and form scanning for data entry.

How does MICR work?

MICR works by printing characters on paper documents using a special magnetic ink. When the document is passed through an MICR reader, these magnetic characters produce a unique waveform, which is then decoded by the reader. This allows for quick and accurate data entry.

What is the E-13B font used in MICR?

The E-13B font is a standardized font used for printing MICR characters. It consists of 14 characters, including 10 numeric digits (0-9) and 4 special characters (transit symbol, amount symbol, on-us symbol, and dash). The E-13B font ensures that all MICR documents can be easily and accurately read by MICR readers.

Related Technology Terms

  • MICR Encoding
  • MICR Line
  • E-13B Font
  • CMC-7 Font
  • MICR Reader

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents