MICR Full Form is Magnetic Ink Character Recognition. MICR is basically a character-recognition technology which is widely used by banks to simplify the processing of cheques. Bank cheque books have certain characters and numbers which seem very irrelevant. But these are deliberately printed with magnetic ink or MICR. It is a system that applies special characters printed with special ink. These characters are unrecognizable and can be read only when passed through a machine specially designed for it. The machine magnetizes the magnetic ink and translates the same into characters.
An MICR code may contain information like the serial number of the cheque, the account number of the cheque depositor, branch code of the bank and the transaction code. The very purpose of MICR is to provide high-speed scanning and secure information processing. MICR font is normally used for printing deposit slips, checks, mortgage coupons etc. There are computers that are equipped with appropriate software and hardware to read or print MICR fonts.
The MICR line, which is essentially the MICR encoding, is at the bottom of vouchers and cheques and usually includes bank code, cheque number, control indicator, bank account number, bank code, the document type indicator, etc. This technology facilitates MICR readers features such as scanning and reading the information into data-collection device. MICR, unlike a barcode, has one distinguishing feature and that is that humans can easily these characters.
The MICR E-13B font is now an International standard in the ISO 1004:1995 though the CMC-7 font is extensively used in Brazil, Mexico, and Europe. Let us take a look at some historical facts behind the MICR. In the year 1958, the MICR standard was adopted by the American Bank Association (abbreviated as ABA) for negotiable instruments such as cheques in the United States of America.
By the end of the year 1959, the cheques using the MICR font were printed. The purpose behind adopting MICR was accuracy with which the machines read the font. Eventually, the MICR technology began to be adopted in different countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The CMC-7 font, which was developed by the French group Groupe Bull in the year 1957 was adopted as the official MICR standard in the countries France, Argentina, Italy, and other countries in Europe.
By the year 1960, the MICR font has taken the shape of a symbol, representing futurism or modernity and this has resulted in the emergence of lookalike typefaces. MICR is also used in credit cards, airline tickets, deposit tickets, insurance premium cards, etc. Thus, MICR has greater utility than one may have thought.