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Using a MICR Gauge

The following measurements are made by positioning the document in the gauge so that its bottom and right edges align with the bottom and right edges of the gauge.

  1. MICR CLEAR BAND: This area, extending the length of the document and 0.625" (1.59 cm) upward from the bottom aligning edge must be free of all magnetic ink other than E13-B information.

  2. MICR ENCODING BAND: The MICR characters should be printed in the encoding band located centrally within the clear band. Positions #1 through #65 locate the position of the fields as well as the individual characters and symbols within those fields. The AMOUNT FIELD must begin at position #1 and stop at position #12 and the TRANSIT FIELD must begin at position #33 and stop at position #43 unless a floating field is required, +/- 0.0625" (0.16cm). Both the ON US and AUXILIARY ON US FIELDS are floating fields and may begin and end anywhere within their respective boundaries. The EXTERNAL PROCESSING CODE field (EPC), is located between the transit field and the auxiliary on us field. In all cases field location and content as supplied by the financial institution must be followed.

    CPA 006 update 06/30/06: The new allowance for the maximum number of characters in the serial number field is twelve (12) digits and two (2) on-us symbols. This field must now end in position 58. PLEASE NOTE: positions 63, 64, & 65 are not to be occupied (U.S ONLY).

  3. OPTICAL CLEAR BAND: This area, surrounding the MICR encoding band and extending the length of the document, must be free of all background printing exceeding the optical specification of 0.30 Print Contrast Signal (PCS). Refer to the specifications for related border allowances.

  4. CONVENIENCE AMOUNT SCAN AREA (CASA): This rectangle contains the convenience amount clear area (CACA) and the convenience amount rectangle (CAR). Refer to the specifications for related position and size variations.

  5. HORIZONTAL CHARACTER TO CHARACTER SPACING: Within individual fields all characters must have their right edges touching the right edges of the rectangular boxes they are located in, 0.125" (0.317 cm) +/- 0.010" (0.025 cm), right edge to right edge. The document may be shifted horizontally to positions #14 and #15 where suspect spacing errors may be measured.

  6. CHARACTER SKEW: Position the document horizontally so that the suspect character is in position #54 or #55. If the character is tilted to the extent that it falls outside of either slanted line the vertical character skew specification of 1.5 degrees has been exceeded.
    The following measurements require moving the document to different areas of the gauge.

  1. LINE SKEW: Position the document so that the top edges of the MICR characters, excluding the dash and on us symbols, touch the solid horizontal line marking the upper boundary of the clear band. The bottom edge of the document will then bisect the vertical scales, marked in 0.5 degree increments, located at positions #6 and #46. The difference in readings between the two scales is the degree of line skew, the maximum line skew is 1.5 degrees.

  2. MICR FONT - NOMINAL SIZE: Position the character under the matching character and if it fits inside the inner dashed outline it is too narrow/short and if outside the outer dashed outline it is too wide/high.

  3. DIMENSION GRID: This grid is composed of 0.010" x 0.010" (0.025 x 0.025 cm) squares with adjacent channels measuring 0.003" (0.007 cm). MICR characters are composed of 0.013" (0.033 cm) horizontal and vertical zones; to measure the stroke width of the character "0" align it under the grid. If a stroke covers a row of squares and its edges bisect both adjacent channels the width of that stroke is 0.010" + 2 x 0.0015" = 0.013" (0.025 cm + 2 x 0.004 cm = 0.033 cm). If the edges just fill the squares the stroke is at the minimum permissible width, if the edges fill adjacent channels the stroke is at the maximum permissible width. To measure the overall dimension of any character and again using the "0" as an example , note it is 7 zones wide and 9 zones high, meeting the specifications for the width and height of a "0".

  4. VOIDS: Position the document so the void is contained within one of the voids/extraneous ink squares. Refer to the specifications for related size variations.

  5. EXTRANEUS INK: Position the document so the spot is contained within one of the voids/extraneous ink squares. Refer to the specifications for related size variations.

  6. VERTICAL CHARACTER TO CHARACTER ALIGNMENT: Position the document so the field to be measured is located over the correct country area. The bottom edges of the characters must be contained within the dashed boundary lines above and below the solid base line.

  7. DOCUMENT DIMENSIONS: The maximum/minimum length and width are illustrated along the top edge with dimensional differences between U.S., Canada and foreign illustrated. The tolerance is +/- 0.062" (0.157 cm) except for the trailing edge where dimensions are required minimums.

Please see the Layout Gauge page for a full description and key benefits of our gauge.


MICR Evaluation
MICR Gauge Tutorial
MICR Reference
MICR Workshop

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