Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1 What is MICR?

Q.2 Why is just a soft font and MICR toner not adequate?

Q.3 What do I need to do?

Q.4 How do I prepare my application?

Q.1    What is MICR?

A.1    MICR stands for Magnetic Ink Character Recognition. MICR is best recognized as the odd print line located at the bottom of a financial document. The numeric line is printed with MICR Ink or Toner. The numeric line will represent the document transaction details such as Client Account Number, Bank State and Branch ID number and the addition of an information field commonly used for the cheque number. High speed reader / sorting equipment will process the volume of cheques relying on the MICR information to sort and capture transactions. MICR stands for Magnetic Ink Character Recognition. 

Q.2    Why is just a soft font and MICR toner not adequate?

A.2     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 clearance houses.  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. cheque number. The amount of the document is captured via optical character recognition methods which can translate both machine printed and handwritten values. This information is then used by the banking institution to exchange the amount of the document from the issuer's account to the payee's account or vice versa in the case of billing items.

A MICR document may be processed up to 20 times before it is correctly sorted for disbursement.  All financial documents are returned to the issuer’s branch for reconciliation and archiving. The rigorous demands put on both the MICR line and its carrier (the paper) apply additional standards to the overall printing specification beyond those required for the MICR font itself.  The permanency of the MICR ink or toner to the paper is crucial, if the toner falls off the document it will clog the read head and reject following documents.

Out of the daily 3-4 million documents being processed around 2% of this volume (approx. 48,000) will reject (up from .5% in the past).  Rejected documents require manual processing, the high cost of this process has prompted the bank to recover costs up to $10 per item.

The increase in use of Desktop printing systems for cheques and other financial documents can be attributed to this.  Individuals and suppliers of technology being unaware of market requirements have implemented systems which work well below market acceptance.  Please read "toner only product comparison".

Today, the HP LaserJet "MICR Enabled" printing solution provides high quality and secure printing within central and decentralized environments to all issuers of cheques and other financial documents. 

The jointly engineered "MICR Enabled" solution calibrates the print engine with the toner and the E13B font to meet and maintain market standards.

There is more to MICR than just font and toner. You need Quality, Security, Reliability and Simplicity.

Q.3    What do I need to do?

A.3    Use the following as a broad over view.

  1. Establish your printing requirements; centralized and decentralized.

  2. Rationalize your form requirements; number of different form types, ancillary forms to be collated with MICR forms and locations to be printed.

  3. Work with your form supplier to re-engineer your requirements to meet recent modifications to APCA standards and to create common stock for multiple applications.

  4. Assess your printer requirements; peak and daily throughput requirement, # of paper trays required and connectivity options.

  5. Contact your local HP Dealer/Reseller to obtain information relevant to your printer needs.

  6. Contact Marinter Systems to insure your implementation and individual needs are being addressed.

Q.4    How do I prepare my application?

A.4    How it Works - Simplistic Integration

The MICR kit for HP LaserJet's provide a MICR tool set internal to the LaserJet printer components. The kit contains a number of logic functions and fonts (refer to product data pages). These features are accessed from your host software application. The MICR printer can function as a normal LaserJet to handle non-MICR applications and can be fitted with any of the accessory options available from HP.

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

The resident MICR font is addressed similarly to calling any other printer resident font, via an escape sequence embedded into your 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. For further information on the use of the "MICR mode" features, contact us on

The greatest benefit is gained by re-engineering cheque applications to print onto blank pre-coloured stationary.

The "MICR Enabled" LaserJet is capable of reproducing text, graphics and MICR fonts within a single print pass.

Electronic Form products available from a number of vendors, likely to already exist within your current architecture, can be utilized to create the body of the form. The form body can contain boxes, lines, half tone shading, logos, fixed text and signatures. Mainstream electronic form software packages will provide for the merging of your client specific or variable text, originating from your admin system or database, to be mapped into the form for processing. The formatted output will enable "MICR mode" within the LaserJet utilizing the standard LaserJet functions to produce the body of the form whilst accessing the "MICR mode"

Integration into Windows environments is simplified with the use of a specific MICR printer driver available from our resources page. Other environments can be easily modified with the assistance of product tools available from Marinter. There are a number of product ready solutions designed to harness the MICR tools and capable of integrating your current database into easy to use form tools.

Contact Information

Marinter Systems Pty. Ltd.


61 2 9533 1044


61 2 9533 1921

Postal address:

P.O. Box 393 Riverwood NSW 2210, Australia

Electronic mail: 





Copyright © 1999
All features and specifications subject to change without notice, Hewlett-Packard, HP, SupportPack  and LaserJet are registered trademarks of Hewlett-Packard Company.  Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. Jetmobile is a registered trademark of Jetmobile Europe.  TROY is a registered trademark of TROY Group Inc. All other trademarks and references are the rightful property of their respective owners. Marinter Systems is an authorized MICR and Barcode/MICR distributor for Jetmobile.