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1. What is MICR?

MICR is best recognised as the odd print line located at the bottom of a financial document. The numeric line is printed with MICR ink or toner and will usually represent check transaction details such as Bank Sort Code and/or Branch ID number, Check number and Account number.

 

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2. Why MICR?

There is a growing trend towards in-house MICR check production. While itís true that MICR is, in itís most simple definition, only a special font (E13-B) and a magnetic toner, in practice it is a very precise process with a complex set of variables which must satisfy various Bankersí Associations and clearance house requirements before implementation. High speed reader / sorting equipment process checks relying on the MICR information to sort and capture the transactions.

 

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3. Why is just a soft font and MICR toner not adequate?

Technology required to recreate the E13B MICR font needs to be capable of creating exact character formations.  The magnetic properties in the ink or toner used in printing the E13B font can generate electronic signwave signatures when passed through the high speed reader/sorter equipment installed within Banking Check Clearing institutions.  The electronic signature generated by each character is translated into the numeric values representing the Bank/State/Branch ID, Client account number and Auxiliary number ie. check number.  The amount of the document is captured via optical character recognition methods which can translate both machine printed and hand written values. This information is then used by the banking institution to exchange the amount of the document from the issuers account to the payeeís account or visa versa in the case of billing items.

Today, the HP LaserJet "MICR Enabled" printing solution that we recommend, provides high quality and secure printing within central and decentralized environments to all issuers of checks and other financial documents.  The "MICR Enabled" solution calibrates the print engine with the toner and the E13B font to meet and maintain market standards.

 

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4. What are the advantages of in-house check production?

E-form technology applied to check production can provide the following benefits:

  • Reduction in costs and lead times. Use blank check stock to replace normal continuous pre-printed stationery. There is no wastage should organization or bank details change with amendments implemented within minutes.
  • Secure storage of check stationery before printing is no longer necessary since the stock is blank and carries no MICR line until after the printing process.
  • Avoid expensive changes to application software as JacanaForms uses host application output files and/or files created using Momentumís report writer.
  • Apply laser signatures to checks dynamically according to such criteria as authority levels, bank accounts or check number ranges.
  • Improve efficiency. For example, print check and associated remittance advice onto the same stock.
  • Enhance the quality and corporate image by printing check output using LaserJet printers!
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5. What do you need to consider?

As always there are a few points to review:

  • Determine whether centralized or de-centralized check printing is required. Physical controls over the use of MICR cartridges and check output may be appropriate.
  • Estimate check volumes i.e. peak and daily throughput requirements together with the number of paper trays and connectivity options required. This will influence the choice of printer model.
  • Take the opportunity to rationalize form requirements combining check and associated output.
  • Ascertain your Bankís standards and approval procedures for MICR check printing.
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6. How does the printer identify a MICR output?

'MICR enabledí LaserJet printers can also function as a normal LaserJet to handle non-MICR applications.

The "MICR mode" personality is activated within the printer by a proprietary escape sequence embedded into the beginning of the data stream. "MICR mode" once activated will look for the installation of MICR toner. If standard toner is present the panel indicates "NO MICR Toner", so simply replace the standard cartridge with a specific MICR cartridge and continue. The "MICR mode" operation will automatically set printer density variables to insure the best MICR font reproduction and change the printer operation to process the MICR encoded documents.

In fact, the resident MICR font is addressed similarly to calling any other printer resident font, via an escape sequence embedded into the data prior to the MICR print information.

Optional password and control panel lock features can be set up at the beginning of the data stream to further protect against unauthorized access to the resident MICR font.

The "MICR Enabled" LaserJet is capable of reproducing text, graphics and MICR fonts within a single print pass. Using JacanaForms the form body can contain boxes, lines, half tone shading, logos, fixed text and signatures, and any other design feature supported by that printer model. Re-engineering check applications to print onto blank pre-colored stationary is ideal.

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