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Use of MICR toner or ink when printing checks

MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) refers to the special printing found at the bottom of a check containing checking account number and bank routing number information. The printing of this MICR line on a check using special MICR ink or toner is currently still in wide use. A MICR scanner magnetizes the characters prior to reading them magnetically. These scanners have proven to be highly accurate in their ability to read the MICR line on a check with a very low error rate.

But the use of such special magnetizable ink or toner when printing checks seems to be decreasing. Here are some of the reasons why:

Many large banks now use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) or a combination of both MICR and OCR. OCR, as the name implies, reads the characters optically, not magnetically. It does not require the use of magnetizable ink or toner.

Also, many banks now have consumer applications that allow their account holders to do remote check deposit. The check is scanned for deposit using the account holder’s phone, so there is no way to know if the MICR line on the check being scanned was printed with magnetizable ink or not. The check is simply scanned optically.

In addition, there are many examples of computer software which consumers can buy to print checks at home. The consumer often does not bother to use magnetizable ink or toner, or the software may even tell the user that it is not necessary to do so. So, these checks end up getting printed with a MICR font for the MICR line, but without the use the special magnetizable ink used by MICR scanners.

If you are interested in obtaining software to print your own checks, you may want to examine the selection of check printing software available below.