What is Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR)?

If you need to quickly check the legitimacy of a paper document, for example a cheque, Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (or MICR) can help you to do this. This is because certain documents have been printed with a special ink that is highly sensitive to magnetic fields, meaning it can be encrypted with characters that would otherwise be undetectable.

The formulation of the toner which is used to print the fonts at the bottom of the cheques contains iron oxide, required to make the cheque clearing process run more smoothly. These high speed readers quickly sort through the information by sending a magnetic charge to the paper and reading information that has been stored there, such as the account or routing number.

What does this mean?

On a practical level, using MICR means that security is heightened and the risk of financial loss through fraud or counterfeiting is decreased. This is because if a cheque has been forged, perhaps it has been photocopied or created using Photoshop and printed, it will not have used the special ink that responds, or the code will not be scannable by the device that has been designed to read magnetic characters.

But MICR doesn’t just help to prevent counterfeiting, it can also help you to instantly identify whether a the person who has created the cheque has the right funds for it to process. That’s right! MICR can immediately indicate whether or not an account owner is to be trusted and whether they have a history of writing cheques that cannot be processed. This can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.

Who is MICR useful for?

MICR can be used by many different types of businesses who handle documents that may need vetting for fraud and authenticity. It is often used by retailers who accept cheques as part of a business transaction to help them identify when a cheque has been forged. It is also used by governments and organisations around the world who have found the technology extremely useful for sorting through different forms of documents.

Would you like to find out more about MICR and how it can help you and your business to avoid fraud? We are experts in preventing document forgery so can talk you through the technology in greater detail, as well as helping you to decide whether it would be right for you to utilise.

Simply fill in your details on this form and once we have them we will get in touch to set up a time for a consultation. It’s totally free and we will be more than happy to answer any questions about the technology you may have.

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