Magnetic Ink Character Recognition, or MICR, is a character recognition technology used primarily by the banking industry to facilitate the processing of checks. The technology allows computers to read information (such as account numbers) off printed documents. Unlike barcodes or similar technologies, however, MICR codes can be easily read by humans. MICR, or Magnetic Ink Character Recognition characters are printed in special typefaces with a magnetic ink or toner, usually containing iron oxide. As a machine decodes the MICR text, it first magnetizes the characters in the plane of the paper. Then the characters are passed over a MICR read head, a device similar to the playback head of a tape recorder. As each character passes over the head it produces a unique waveform that can be easily identified by the system.

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