A magnetic ink character recognition, or MICR, spec sheet is used to provide a check printer with information needed to print checks or deposit slips for a customer. This information is typically required when ordering from a third-party check printer, not one's own bank.
Checks contain a number of pieces of important data. These are critical for the check to be scanned and processed properly. At the bottom left is the nine-digit financial institution routing transit number, which identifies the bank holding the account and check processing center. Next to the routing number is the checking account number. An ACH routing transit number may also appear on some checks. All of this information is communicated to the check printer on the MICR spec sheet.
MICR numbers, letters and symbols are printed with magnetic ink or toner, which allows a computer to read the characters even if they have been covered with other marks. This technology helps protect businesses and consumers from fraud and to ensure that the check printer processes orders accurately. The local branch of any bank is a good source of information when having checks printed and should be able to provide current checking customers with an MICR spec sheet.