How MICR Toners Work

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How MICR Toners Work Powered By Docstoc
					                                                    Presented by Daniel Toriola

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                                                             How MICR Toners Work
                                                                     By Lyn Askin

   Have you ever wondered why your checks have a line of characters printed on its bottom side and
why these characters look different? This line is called the MICR line. It is printed using a specific font
type and with a special kind of ink. This ink is called the MICR toner.

 MICR toners are necessary to make the processing of checks easier and faster. They enable the
reader-sorter machines that banks use to recognize the information that MICR lines carry; they are the
reason why automation in check processing is possible.

How do MICR toners make automation of check processing possible?

The Nature of MICR Toners and the MICR Reading Process

MICR is short for magnetic ink character recognition. As its name suggests, MICR toners have
magnetic components in the form of iron oxide additives. These iron oxide additives are the reason
why reader-sorter machines can read checks.

 When a check is fed into the reader-sorter machine, the MICR line passes across a check to make the
iron oxide magnetized and emit a signal. Afterwards, the check is read by a magnetic read head. The
contact between the magnetized MICR line and the magnetic read head creates an electromagnetic
field, also called a flux pattern.

 The flux pattern in turn creates a current in the read head. This allows the characters in the MICR line
to be recognized by the machine. The strength of the flux pattern and the timing of the line’s passage
under the read head are essential in determining the accuracy of the character recognition.

The Waveform Theory

 The MICR reading process works using what is called the waveform theory. To put it simply, the
signals emitted by the magnetized characters printed with MICR toners on the MICR line create
corresponding waves. The peaks of these waves, both positive and negative, must be of the right
height or depth in order for the reader-sorter machine to make the correct reading. The position of
these waves must also be in the correct grid.

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 This is why accuracy is so important when it comes to printing checks with MICR toners. The correct
percentage of iron oxide additives in the MICR toner itself contributes to the signal strength of the
reading. If the signals are too weak or too strong, errors will occur in the peaking of the waves. The
position of the waves allows the machine to anticipate the signals and thus recognize the character
being read. If the printed character is skewed or is not in the correct size, the machine would get the
wrong signals and fail to read the printout.

 There cannot be any variations in the peaks or in the position of the characters printed with MICR
toners. The reader-sorter machine would find them impossible to read.

The Importance of Choosing the Right MICR Toner

 Given the way reader-sorter machines process checks, it is important that you use a good quality
MICR printer and a good quality MICR toner when you do your check printing. If the printer does not
print it correctly, where there are voids, spotting, clipped edges or blurred lines on the MICR line, the
machine would not be able to read the printout. The same goes if the MICR toner is not of the correct
formula or does not have the right amount of iron oxide additives.

Lyn Askin is a MICR Toner expert. Learn more about MICR toner at

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                        MICR Toner - This Specialty Toner Makes Check Printing Secure
                                                       By Lyn Askin

What Makes the MICR Toner Special?

 Have you ever wondered why banks impose a clearing time on checks and why it takes some time to
get checks processed? It takes time to process checks because checks need to go through a machine
that banks call a reader-sorter. Just as what its name implies, a reader-sorter machine sorts out checks
based on the information printed on the check itself. However, the reader-sorter would only work if the
correct ink is used in printing out the check. The correct ink is called an MICR toner.

What is a MICR Toner?

 What is a MICR toner? The MICR toner is a special kind of ink that was specifically made to make the
automation of check processing possible. There is a precise formula used for creating MICR toners,
and the standard for producing them is mandated and regulated by the American National Standards
Institute (ANSI).

 Basically, what makes the MICR toner a unique type of ink is that it contains iron oxide. The letters on
MICR stand for “magnetic ink character recognition” and it is the iron oxide component that gives the
MICR toner its magnetic properties. The magnetic properties of this ink are what allow the
reader-sorter to be able to read and process a check. A correctly formulated MICR toner is supposed
to emit the right signal to the reader-sorter to make the reading possible.

Precision Printing with MICR Toners

 MICR toners need to be produced in just the right way in order to make using them for printing checks
work. ANSI requires MICR toners to emit the correct signal strength so the ink can be read by the
reader-sorter machine.

 But beyond the quality of the ink itself, the American Bankers Association (ABA) has set standards on
fonts printed on checks. The fonts used on MICR lines, which is the line of information located on the
bottom of each check, were specifically designed to make them machine-readable. In Israel, South
America and the Mediterranean countries, the standard font is called the CMC-7. In the United States
and the rest of the world, the MICR font used is the E-13B.

 Precision is extremely necessary to make check printing with MICR toners work. The ABA imposes a
strict fixed width for each MICR font character, which is 1/8th of an inch. Also, these characters have to
be printed on the exact spot on the check where they are supposed to be. If these two conditions are
not followed, then the reader-sorter machine would not be able to read and process the check.

 Another beautiful thing with MICR toners is that they provide a degree of security when it comes to
printing checks. Checks need to be printed using an MICR toner; one cannot use any ordinary ink.
Some banks catch fraudulent checks, those printed with ordinary inks.

Other Uses of the MICR Toner

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                                            Presented by Daniel Toriola

 Since precision and security are benchmarks of the MICR toner, many other industries have adopted
the use of this special ink for their own printing needs. Airlines use MICR toners for printing their
tickets. The same goes for events and concerts – their tickets are made with MICR toners as well.
Most documents that require security and precision have come to rely on MICR toners to provide them

Learn more about HP MICR Toners and MICR Toner Cartridges by visiting the inkcarts website at

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                                             Presented by Daniel Toriola

Related eBooks:

MICR Toner - This Specialty Toner Makes Check Printing Secure
MICR Toner Printing - The Basics
MICR Toner - The Development of Checks Created the Demand For MICR Toner
How Small Business Can Save Money Printing Their Own Checks
Printing Checks With MICR Toner and Securing Your Payroll the Easy Way

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