The purpose of the Generic MICR Fundamentals Guide is to provide a reference for the various facets of the MICR environment within the context of the Xerox MICR printing products. This document does not contain specific information on individual Xerox MICR printers.
Chapter 8: Security. Provides an overview of the security procedures used to control and audit access to a Xerox MICR printing system and to check printing functions. Appendix A: MICR references. Lists the domestic and international standards documents that apply to MICR publications.
Overview MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) is a process by which documents are printed using magnetic ink and special fonts to create machine readable information for quick document processing. Although traditionally MICR has been used to print accounting and routing information on bank checks and other negotiable documents, the magnetic encoding lends itself to any form of document processing.
Overview A brief history Originally, checks were processed manually. However, by the mid-1940s the banking system became inundated with paper as society grew more mobile and affluent. Finding a means of handling the growing number of paper documents became vital to bankers.
Overview In 1963, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accepted the ABA specifications, with minor revisions, as the American standard for MICR printing. The ANSI publication covering these standards is Print Specifications for Magnetic Ink Character Recognition, first issued in 1969. Although compliance with the standards is voluntary in the U.
Overview Country E13B CMC7 OCR-A OCR-B North America: Canada Central America Bermuda Mexico Panama South America: Argentina Brazil Chile Columbia Ecuador Peru Uruguay Venezuela Europe: Austria Belgium Denmark Finland France Germany Holland Italy Norway Spain Sweden United Kingdom Middle East and Africa: Israel South Africa Far East:...
Recognizing significant market value in combining the advantages of electronic laser xerography with MICR technology, Xerox initiated investigations in late 1979 and early 1980. Early efforts at the Xerox Webster Research Center concentrated on basic material physics. The objective was to provide a...
Overview The printing process is one small part of the total processing procedure for a MICR printing system user. Quality and accuracy of the check documents must be closely controlled during printing to prevent problems from occurring when the document is processed off-site.
Overview Figure 1-2. Life cycle of a check Generic MICR Fundamentals Guide...
(proof of deposit). 6. MICR documents that are printed on a Xerox MICR printing system are usually corporate paychecks, stock dividend checks, etc. After printing, these type of documents require additional processing using a high-speed device called a “reader sorter.”...
Overview 7. Checks drawn on other banks are sent to the payor bank through a clearing (7) arrangement. The check may be cleared through the Federal Reserve, a correspondent bank, a clearing house, or directly by the issuing bank. The payor bank also balances the check against the deposit ticket (proof of deposit) (7a) to verify the check amount, and performs its capture pass (7b) on the reader sorter in order to identify the issuer account (7c).
Overview Figure 1-3. Check ordering and production cycle 1. Design requirements are defined for a new account. 2. Requirements are passed to application development. 3. Samples pass internal quality checks. 4. Samples are forwarded to the bank for approval. 5. Any problems are referred to application developers, who ensure that the problems cannot occur in production.
The introduction of MICR impact printers allowed the check issuer to sometimes take over printing the MICR line. With further technological advances, such as the Xerox MICR printing systems, the check issuer has assumed still more responsibilities that previously belonged to the manufacturer.
Environment Checks and other bank forms constitute the most frequent uses of MICR printing. All businesses issue checks to meet payroll and accounts payable obligations. In addition, all profitable publicly owned businesses make periodic stock dividend distributions by check. Most medium and small companies buy check production services from a service bureau or a bank.
Environment Issuing checks The most common use of MICR printing systems is the process of obtaining check stationery from the manufacturer and encoding it with MICR information. Most businesses regularly issue checks in at least two of the following categories. •...
They also provide great flexibility in font selectivity, graphics capability, and dynamic page formatting. An advantage to Xerox printing systems is their ability to print a document in a single pass, as shown in the following figure. The form design, variable data, logos, and signatures can all be printed together.
Environment MICR printing technologies The following basic printing techniques are capable of generating magnetic characters: • Letterpress Letterpress is based upon a raised typeface that sits above the plane of the image carrier. The typeface is inked with special magnetic ink and applied to the paper under pressure.
Environment Printer technical optimization The Xerox MICR systems use the same operating software as their standard configuration counterparts. In addition, the MICR systems have been enhanced to include the following features: • Optimized print engine • MICR materials package •...
Short print runs of continuous forms can waste materials. • Check production requires short lead times. Xerox MICR printing systems reduce many of these concerns. There is no need to store different types of preprinted forms, and single pass printing eliminates many time constraints.
Paper guidelines The paper that you use to print MICR documents must meet the criteria for the Xerox MICR laser printer and the specifications imposed by MICR industry standards. In addition, papers must resist alteration and prevent duplication of negotiable documents.
MICR paper requirements The following table summarizes Xerox’s recommendations for papers that are used for MICR printing. Papers with the following characteristics perform best in Xerox MICR printers. Table 3-1. Xerox paper recommendations...
(U.S. market) or 90 gsm xerographic paper. Lighter papers often cause misfeeds, and heavier papers are more subject to jams (although most Xerox printing systems can handle a wide range of paper weights). In multi-pass reader sorter processing, lighter weight papers subject to frequent misfeeds and mechanical stresses, and are not as reliable as 24 pound paper.
Paper facts Grain direction Paper properties are related to the grain direction. The grain of a paper is the direction in which most of its fibers lie, as shown in the following figure. Long grain papers are cut so that the fibers are aligned with the long dimension of the cut sheet.
Papers with a nominal moisture content of 4.7 per cent perform best in Xerox MICR laser printers. Offset and bond papers may have a higher moisture content than xerographic papers. Xerox brand papers have a maximum moisture content of 5.3 percent, with an average of 4.7 per cent.
Paper facts Requirements for background reflectance are discussed in chapter 4, “Document design.” Curl All papers curl to some degree. Excessive curl is one of the most common causes of paper jams. Selecting a low-curl paper with the proper moisture content makes a significant difference in the productivity of your system.
(skips, blurs, and deletions) due to their reduced ability to bend. 24 pound/90 gsm paper usually provides stiffness levels in the range needed by the Xerox MICR laser printer and the proofing, reader sorter, and remittance-processing systems used in banking environments.
MICR band registration. The dimensions must be controlled to ±.030 inch/0.762 mm. Papers that have been converted from continuous form paper present a risk of jams and poorly registered forms in a Xerox MICR laser printer. Xerox paper To ensure reliability, Xerox has developed paper with the optimum characteristics for xerographic printing.
Wrapping factors Paper with a moisture content below 5.5 per cent is best for a Xerox MICR laser printer. The moisture content must be uniform within the ream, which should not be allowed to lose or gain moisture during storage.
Paper facts Temperature and humidity conditions The temperature and humidity in the printer environment can affect runability and print quality. Use the following guidelines for the best MICR printing performance: • Optimum temperature and humidity range – 68 to 76 degrees F / 20 to 14 degrees C –...
Paper facts Paper runability criteria Use the following criteria to avoid paper jams and to assure high image quality: • Use 24 pound/90 gsm xerographic or dual purpose MICR bond paper. The paper should have the following characteristics: – Low moisture content (below 5.3 per cent) –...
Paper facts The following table is a troubleshooting guide for paper runability issues. Table 3-3. Paper runability issues Malfunction Possible causes Repeated processor jams • Excessive curl • High moisture content in paper • Excessive paper smoothness • Bent corners •...
Inks Choosing the correct ink is the first step in designing forms that function well in Xerox printers. Inks for these forms must cure well, must not be tacky, and must not offset. In choosing an ink, you must consider the amount of heat and pressure to which the forms will be exposed while passing through the printer.
Laser inks may be oxidative, UV, or heat set types. Another option is to use Xerox forms, whose performance is guaranteed. The same guarantee should be expected of the forms vendor chosen by the customer.
Paper facts • Watermark: A variation that is made in the opacity of the paper during manufacturing. An artificial watermark is typically a white ink image that is printed on the back of the check. • Drop-out ink: Very low density ink that is used to print a message, usually on the back of the check •...
Paper facts • To achieve reconciliation without substantial waste, always use the stock sheets in the same order—lowest to highest— so that the sequence remains intact. • Avoid gaps in the sequence. • Storing unused stock without wrapping may cause runability problems the next time it is used.
Paper facts • Many security features must be located in areas of the document where the printer places critical information, such as the payee name and the check amount fields. However, if the feature interferes with the bonding of dry ink to paper, poor image permanence results.
Paper facts 3-18 Generic MICR Fundamentals Guide...
Document design Although other applications are possible, a MICR document is typically a negotiable document, very often a check. However, all types of MICR documents must be produced in accordance with the standards and methods that have been established for checks, in order for the automated payment systems to process them.
Document design Background printing While MICR documents may be printed on white or pastel colored paper, negotiable documents nearly always have some sort of background—a scenic image, a logo, or a pattern. Fixed form and variable information should print darker than this background.
Convenience Amount field should be retained to aid in locating this data. NOTE: The Xerox MICR fonts contain a dollar symbol, which is acceptable for all applications. The area for the Amount in Words is normally located left of the Convenience Amount, but may be above it or below it.
The minimum clear band dimension for Xerox MICR printers is ¾ inch/19 mm, because the line printed by a Xerox MICR printer is magnetic and therefore must be kept out of the MICR clear band over the entire allowable registration range.
5/8 inch/16 mm of the check document. The clear band must not contain any magnetic material other than MICR characters. Because the entire Xerox MICR document uses the magnetic dry ink, make sure that no marks of any kind (cut lines, signature letters, etc.), other than the MICR...
Document design • 5/16 inch/7.9 mm from the right edge of the check, ± 1/16 inch/1.6 mm • Minimum of 1/8 inch/3.2 mm from the left edge of the check The following figure illustrates the clear band dimensions for the E13B and CMC7 fonts.
Document design Format specifications using E13B The recommended clear band dimension for Xerox MICR printers using the E13B font is 3/4 inch/19 mm, to provide for tolerances of the printing and finishing systems, and to allow an extra margin of safety between the clear band and the magnetic ink on the rest of the check.
Document design Transit symbol The two Transit symbols tell the reader sorter that the numerals between these symbols are the routing number that identifies the institution on which the check is drawn and where the document should be sent for processing. Checks are not processed in branch offices, but in central processing locations, which ensures that documents take the shortest route and the shortest processing time.
Document design E13B character design All of the E13B characters are designed on a 7 by 9 matrix of 0.013 inch/0.33 mm squares (see figure 4-5.). The minimum character width is four squares (or 0.052 inch/1.3 mm) for the numbers 1 and 2. The maximum width is 0.091 inch/2.3 mm for the number 8, 0, and four special symbols.
Document design 1. Amount 2. On-Us 3. Transit 4. External processing code (optional) 5. Auxiliary On-Us (optional) All checks have at least three of the fields (Amount, On-Us, and Transit). Commercial checks may also have an Auxiliary On-Us field, located on the left of the check. Some checks also have an External Processing Code (EPC) digit, located between the Transit and Auxiliary On-Us fields.
Document design Document Specifications form For accurate formatting of the entire MICR line, each bank should provide a MICR Document Specifications form to identify the proper contents of the various character positions. (Refer to figure 4-4). The MICR Document Specifications form includes: •...
Document design Figure 4-5. MICR Document Specifications form (U. S. example) NOTE: In this example, X denotes blank spaces required by the issuing bank. 4-12 Generic MICR Fundamentals Guide...
Document design Amount field The Amount is the first field on the right, located between character boxes 1 and 12. When this field is used, position 12 contains the Amount field symbol, and positions 2 through 11 contain the actual amount. The amount is right-justified, and all unused positions to the left are filled in with zeros.
Document design External processing code (EPC) field The External Processing Code (EPC) field is an optional field between the Transit and Auxiliary On-Us fields at position 44 or 45. When present, this field indicates that the document is eligible for special processing. Auxiliary On-Us field The Auxiliary On-Us field is an optional field that is sometimes used by the banks for additional processing information or high...
Document design Table 4-1. MICR field formats—E13B Field Position Description Amount 1 to 12 Fixed field signifying the dollar value of the check. Position: • 1 Opening amount symbol • 2 to 3 Cents • 4 to 11 Dollars (zero-fill to left) •...
Document design Character alignment The bottom edges of adjacent E13B MICR characters within the same field are in alignment within: • ± .007 inch/0.18 mm (CPA—Canada) • ± .015 inch/0.38 mm (ISO—International) • ± .030 inch/0.76 mm (ANSI—U. S. only) Although this is a concern for impact printing, MICR characters printed on laser systems are always properly aligned.
Document design The CMC-7 font consists of 10 numeric characters (0-9), five special symbols, and 26 alphabetic characters (A-Z). The five special symbols are illustrated in the following figure: Figure 4-7. CMC7 special symbols S-1: Indicates the start of the bank's internal information (account number, etc.).
Document design S-5: Indicates the routing number that identifies the institution on which the check is drawn and where the document should be sent for processing. This symbol is the equivalent of the E13B Transit symbol. However, it is not used to terminate the bank routing identification.
NOTE: The relationship between the input character and the output character may differ slightly from these tables for some Xerox MICR products. These differences are primarily found with the revision control character (?) and the special symbols. Generic MICR Fundamentals Guide...
Document design The following HP PCL escape sequences must be entered exactly as shown to select the Xerox MICR fonts: • E13B: <ESC>&100<ESC>(0U<ESC>(s0p8.00h9.00v0s0b0T • CMC7: <ESC>&100<ESC>(1U<ESC>(s0p8.00h9.06v0s0b0T NOTE: The PCL 5 font rotation commands are used to rotate the E13B and CMC7 portrait fonts for landscape applications.
Document design Table 4-3. Character conversion and spacing of proportionally spaced MICR fonts (LCDS printing only) Input character Input code E13B font CMC7 font ASCII symbol Hex Value Printed result Dot width Printed result Dot width (space) (space) (space) (space) dollar symbol dollar symbol dollar symbol...
Document design Table 4-4. Character conversion and spacing of fixed pitch MICR fonts at 300 dpi E13B font CMC7 font Dot width Dot width Dot width Dot width Input character Printed result @300 dpi @600 dpi Printed result @300 dpi @600 dpi space (space)
Document design Check size The ANSI specified size limits for a check are shown in the following figure. Length: 6 inches/152 mm minimum 8.75 inches/222 mm maximum Height: 2.75 inches/70 mm minimum 3.67 inches/93 mm maximum 6 inches/ 152 mm 2.75 inches/ 70 mm Minimum size document...
Document design Table 4-5. Check dimensions summary chart Country Check dimensions Notes Australia 6.25’’ x 2.75’’/162 x 70 mm (min.) Typically 8’’ x 3 5/8’’ 8’’ x 3.66’’/203 mm x 93 mm (max.) Bermuda 6.125’’ x 2.75’’ 10.5’’ x 3.15’’ with stub 7.4’’...
Document design Other application considerations Printing on a Xerox MICR printing system raises some additional application considerations. Two sided printing Two sided (duplex) printing may be used in a MICR application, but the forms design and the application structuring require care.
Document design Document Stub Document Stub Document Document Stub Document Document Stub Document Four-up with check register Three-up with no stub Stub Stub Document Stub Document Document Two-up with stub One-up with stub* The maximum check height is 3.67 inches/93 mm, or one-third of an 8.5 by 11 inch/216 x 279 mm sheet.
Document design Example: A 3-up application is printed with checks numbered 1 through 6, in that order. After they are cut, three stacks of finished checks are produced: the first with check numbers 1 and 4, another with numbers 2 and 5, and a third with numbers 3 and 6.
Document processing The life cycle for a MICR document involves three types of processing equipment: • Proof machine • Reader sorter • Repair station Proof machine The proof machine transfers the amount from the Convenience Amount field to the MICR encoded Amount field. It prints the Amount field onto the check using either a thermal transfer or an impact ribbon printer.
Document processing Proofing checks All checks start automated processing in the Proof of Deposit department. Check processing relies on a series of debits and credits throughout the process to identify errors as close to the source as possible. The first step is to prove that the deposit is valid. A deposit slip is balanced against the value of the items deposited with it.
Paper roughness must be controlled. Also, for MICR laser printers, which apply a release agent or oil to the fuser, the specified fuser agent must be used and the metering system maintained according to Xerox schedules. Reader sorter function Reader sorters are machines that read magnetic ink characters that are printed using the E13B or the CMC7 fonts.
Document processing Waveform generation All types of reader sorters react to any magnetic material in the clear band, intentionally placed on a document or not. Reader sorters read from right to left and the magnetized ink generates a waveform. The following figure illustrates the process.
Document processing Types of reader sorters The following recognition technologies have been incorporated into MICR reader sorter devices. Waveform reader sorters Waveform reader sorters measure the magnetic signal waveform or pattern of the MICR character as the documents pass the read head.
Document processing Optical reader sorters Optical readers typically use a light source and some type of photosensitive matrix array to convert an image of the character into a set of electrical signals. Optical readers that can interpret the characters can be used to input data into an automated reading system.
Document processing Hybrid magnetic and optical reader sorters Hybrid reader sorters use two read technologies: • Magnetic waveform recognition • Optical character recognition Compared to other types, hybrid reader sorters have very high accuracy rates, because they interpret and compare the results produced by the magnetic waveform recognition and the optical character recognition.
Document processing Medium speed: Process 1,000 to 1,500 documents per minute. These machines usually use waveform recognition, frequently with dual or hybrid read. High speed: Process 2,000 or more documents per minute. These machines are typically found in larger banks, clearinghouses, processing centers, etc.
Document processing Aligner Within the aligner, a series of wheels drive the bottom edge of the document toward the back side of the reader sorter so that the MICR line is in a predictable location. The wheels have a series of plastic fingers that make contact with the back side of the document and force it against the aligner drum.
Document processing Sorter pockets The document finally arrives at a diverter plate, which sends it into the pocket that the reader sorter program selects based on the MICR line data. The pocket has a pair of metal springs that press the document onto the stack that is in the pocket. If the pocket is empty, the document may impact against the rails at the bottom of the pockets with greater than normal velocity.
Document processing If the document is badly damaged, or if the processing center does not have an automated repair station, a document carrier envelope may be used. This is a check-sized, translucent envelope designed to fully enclose a check while adding a new MICR clear band and encoding area at the bottom.
Quality control MICR printing requires constant quality control. Special equipment is required to produce quality documents that meet the X9.27, X9.13, X9.7, and ISO 1004 specifications. You should develop a formal quality control program to ensure that all check printing specifications are met. Key factors for producing good MICR documents include: •...
MICR tools are required to determine if a document is within specifications. MICR Gauge The MICR Gauge lets you compare the location of Xerox MICR printed information to industry standards. The Gauge is printed on a thin sheet of flexible plastic, which is attached to the bottom of a piece of hard plastic.
These are characteristics of the printing technology and font design, and cannot be adjusted in Xerox MICR printers. For this reason, the signal strength of the On-Us symbol is used as the Xerox reference for the entire MICR line. Generic MICR Fundamentals Guide...
Quality control MICR signal strength is the only magnetic specification in ANSI standards. Magnetic testers are needed to identify magnetic versus non-magnetic extraneous ink, and they can be useful in interpreting waveform uniformity issues. All other standards use optical dimensions and require optical or visual inspection. MICR quality decisions cannot be based solely on magnetic test equipment without regard to ANSI standard conformance requirements.
Quality control WCC notation Signal strength of On-Us symbol below, as measured by a master MICR Reader On-Us symbol used to calibrate a MICR reader Figure 6-3. Portion of E13B calibration document The calibration document should be used once during each shift, or just prior to reading the On-Us signal strength from any output document.
The Xerox printing system should be adjusted to manufacturer specifications and operator maintenance tasks performed regularly per the manufacturer's recommendation. • Only paper stock that meets ANSI and Xerox requirements should be used. • A large group of documents should be generated, several thousand at a time.
Quality control Acceptable MICR alignment Right edge of Transit symbols Ideal Maximum Minimum Unacceptable MICR alignment horizontal allowable allowable alignment tolerance tolerance Exceeds minimum Exceeds maximum allowable tolerance, allowable tolerance, too far to the right. too far to the left. Figure 6-4.
Use the MICR Gauge to measure character-to-character vertical position (see the following figure). Vertical variation from one character to the next is seldom produced by a Xerox MICR printing system unless the document has design problems. Vertical character alignment section...
Quality control The vertical position for the entire line is evaluated with the MICR Gauge. To check the vertical position, line up the right edge of the check with the right edge of the gauge, and place the bottom edge of the check as far down as possible between the flexible and the hard plastic on the gauge.
Quality control Character skew does not occur with Xerox printing systems. However, line skew may occur if the paper skews when passing through the printer or is poorly cut along the critical edge (see the following figure). Out of specification Figure 6-7.
Quality control 2. Hold the document firmly so that it does not slip. The bottom of the document should now bisect the vertical skew scales below boxes 10 and 46. The scales are graduated in 0.5 degree divisions from 0 (not marked) to 2.5 degrees (also not marked).
Quality control Figure 6-9. Character spacing If it is possible to move the check so that all characters are within a character box, place the right edges of as many characters as possible at the right edges of their character boxes. Look at the entire line and notice any characters whose right edges are not touching the right edges of their boxes.
This problem occurs more often with cold fusion xerography and ionography technologies than with hot fusion based xerography (like Xerox MICR systems). Voids must be contained within a 0.008 inch/0.2 mm square. An exception is made for internal voids that extend over two or more zones of characters, a zone consisting of 0.013 by 0.013 inch/...
Quality control Single voids Acceptable Not acceptable Trail edge deletion (Note: This depends on the check printing orientation.) Figure 6-10. Examples of voids Extraneous ink spots Extraneous ink spots are unwanted bits of ink that result from unavoidable splatter and smear of the magnetic printing inks. These spots, which may be invisible to the unaided eye, can affect the wave patterns of MICR characters, depending upon their size, quantity, and position.
Also, the xerographic soft spotting effect minimizes the signal pattern defect. The following table shows the Xerox MICR printing system xerographic specification for extraneous ink or spots in the clear band.
Quality control Figure 6-11. Examples of extraneous ink spots 6-16 Generic MICR Fundamentals Guide...
The ANSI specification is 50% to 200% of the nominal specified peaks signal for each character. NOTE: Under normal conditions, the signal strength of a Xerox MICR printing system does not require measurement unless some degradation of MICR quality is observed during inspection.
Quality control The following table identifies the signal level tolerances for all of the MICR characters. These standards are required by ANSI standards; tolerances for other standards might vary. Table 6-1. Signal level tolerances Peak Minimum Nominal Maximum Character number (50%) (100%) (200%)
Quality control Figure 6-12. E13B characters and waveforms Generic MICR Fundamentals Guide 6-19...
Quality control Debossment and embossment Debossment is the depression of the paper surface caused by printing pressure. It is commonly associated with letterpress and impact printing technologies, and is not produced by xerographic printing. However, when the bank adds the amount to the Amount field, unacceptable debossment could result at that point.
Quality control Summary of ANSI standards Parameter Specifications Testing tool Format • Right edge of first or right symbol must be 0.0625 inch/15.87 MICR Gauge mm ±0.0625 inch/7.937 mm from the edge of the paper. • All E13B characters must be within 0.25 inch/6.35 mm horizontal printing band.
Operational maintenance The performance of any mechanical device, whether a high- speed reader sorter or a Xerox printing system, depends on how well it is set up and maintained. Refer to the reference manual for your product to find out how to avoid possible problems.
Quality control Quality measurements: magnetic versus optical If a MICR quality issue arises, it should be visible on the printed document. Even signal strength problems can be seen if prints are compared. Low signal characters are thin and poorly formed; high signal characters are fat and usually surrounded by xerographic background.
– MICR test equipment precision is limited by digitizer resolution. The minimum encoding interval limits the precision of a single measurement. In Xerox’s RDM MICR Qualifier GTs, this interval is 0.00104 inch/0.026 mm— one-third of the tolerance. – Digital MICR font designs are optimized for recognition performance in the full range of equipment used in check processing.
Quality control • Character placement (0.125 inch/3.175 mm interval) – MICR line registration is controlled by the right edge of a single Transit character that is nominally 5.625 inches/ 142.89 mm from the reference edge. – Transport speed calibration accuracy, speed variations, and document slippage over this distance contribute to errors in MICR tester measurements of horizontal MICR line placement.
Quality control • When the results are displayed, the use of a template with highlighted “bad areas” does not indicate if there is a specification failure due to edge void and edge irregularity allowances. The dimensions of the template may be limited by screen resolution.
Problem solving MICR problem investigations take different forms, depending on the nature of the problem, the availability of actual problem documents, and the willingness of the parties involved. Timely problem identification and resolution is especially important for products covered by the MICR Quality Guarantee. When problem solving is required New accounts If the customer is opening a new account or validating a new...
Problem solving • The customer may issue checks from a single account that uses multiple printers. These printers may not all be Xerox printers and they may be located in different cities. • The account holder may possess a blank check book order for years before using all the checks.
Problem solving A structured approach is required to discern which of the many sources is actually responsible for a high reject rate. The following flow chart illustrates the steps. Problem reported From From internal QC reviewing returned operators Reported from bank checks Gather information Obtain rejected checks...
Problem solving Determining the problem source You must identify the source of the problem before you can implement corrective actions. For document quality problems, you can best identify the cause by examining the rejected document and determining the most likely reason for rejection. However, rejected documents may not be available, or they may not show any printer or application-related issues.
Problem solving Application software Any application change should be reason for a thorough inspection. Although new applications must be thoroughly tested before MICR documents are issued, subtle application changes can have an impact on MICR document performance. Some problems, such as a new authorized signature that extends into the MICR clear band, are easy to detect.
Problem solving • Process documents through the reader sorters a minimum of 20 passes. • Use more than one reader sorter of the same model, if available. • Retain a control batch of the test deck from processing in case there is a need for later runs. •...
Problem solving Questions to consider When analyzing the results from a batch of documents that were tested in a reader sorter, you must ensure that the returned documents correspond to the reported rejects. You should ask the following questions: • What is the reject rate? This varies depending on the reader sorter that was used.
Problem solving A statistically significant test to detect a 0.5 per cent rejection rate can be achieved with 2,000 to 3,000 documents. (The test case should not be less than 200 documents.) If the test set is too small, it may be biased by the fact that reader sorter performance is poorer when the machine is starting up than when it has been operating steadily for some time.
0.5 per cent for unprocessed documents in good condition. Xerox MICR documents are expected to be rejected less than 0.5 per cent on the first pass in high speed reader sorter tests.
Problem solving • Load Xerox 4024 Dual Purpose, 24-pound paper (or a high quality equivalent). • Verify that the bank regularly adjusts and cleans the reader sorter to the specifications set by the manufacturer. • Make sure that the reject rate is based on a statistically valid number of documents and reader sorters.
Problem solving The following table identifies typical problems that are associated with different reject rates. Note that the source of the problem can include the reader sorter itself. Table 7-1. Problems indicated by different reject rates If the reject rate is: Look for: Marginally high (1.0 to 3.0 per cent) •...
Correct font placement or format Always use a MICR font. Ask yourself the following questions: • Was a non-qualified font purchased and installed from a source other than Xerox? • Is the font in the correct position? • How was the positioning determined? •...
Problem solving Document damage Even subtle damage can ruin a document. Characters may be cut by sharp edges within the reader sorter. If there are wrinkles in the document, the reader sorter may be causing its own errors. Leading edge damage in the reader sorter is a common problem with short-grain documents.
Problem solving Job history or results Ask the following questions: • Is this the first time that this job has been run? • What happened on the other occasions? • Is the current result an exception? Compare the documents with previous samples Keep a record of base information and samples of previously printed jobs to help isolate and resolve recurring problems.
Problem solving • Where in the document do the rejects occur? Determine if they appear consecutively, in groups, or randomly: – Is there a pattern to these rejects? For example, are they the same character, the same field, or do they regularly appear after a certain number of sheets? –...
Problem solving All Xerox MICR printers incorporate MICR diagnostic test patterns. These forms combine the needs of service diagnosis and call closeout with MICR problem analysis and escalation. You may want to use separate test pattern files to verify individual PostScript, PCL, and LCDS fonts. The MICR line on these forms is in the correct format for reader sorter testing.
MICR printing system is of special sensitivity, because outputs often include negotiable documents. The key to security of a Xerox MICR printing system is to control access to critical and sensitive files, and to keep track of the legitimate use of these files through audit procedures. The critical files vary depending on check printing application implementation.
• Use of document security features that protect against both alteration and duplication Physical security The primary aspects of physical security for the Xerox MICR printing systems include the following. Restricting physical access Access to printing The most important security feature is control of access to check system printing facilities and to the MICR printing system.
Security Securing paper stocks The ability of the Xerox MICR printing system to print a form, signature, logo, and MICR line on a check at the same time as the variable data eliminates the security problems resulting from keeping a supply of preprinted checks in storage.
Logon levels Several Xerox MICR printers provide some level of logon or password security as standard or an option. Many systems have a logon level at which the user files can be restricted from all of the other levels so they cannot be edited, deleted, or used by other jobs.
Audit control processes The primary audit function for Xerox MICR printers is to identify the processes or procedures that could compromise control of valued items. The auditor then finds ways to stop that loss of control.
Security The operator captures and accounts for all jam scrap and makes sure that no missing or duplicate checks result from the jam. The audit process works only if all of the sheets in the jam are discretely identified. These sheets should be considered part of the output for the job until the auditor is satisfied that the job has successfully completed.
Security Tampering methods There are several methods by which data on a check may be altered. The security papers on which negotiable documents are printed are designed to thwart these forms of tampering. Chemical tampering Many inks can be affected by particular chemicals, making chemical alteration of checks possible.
Security • Selecting checks with a structured background pattern. This type of background accentuates the pattern change that results from tampering. Random check backgrounds may camouflage damage due to alteration. • Using “fugitive” inks, which run when a solvent is applied. A water soluble ink shows any attempt to loosen and remove paper fibers attached to a dry ink image.
Security Fabric ribbon inks also soak into and around paper fibers. How much the inks soak in depends on how new the ribbon is. As the ribbon is reused, ink levels are depleted and the image does not bond as much to the paper. At this point, the image is easier to remove.
The numeric field takes second place in legal precedence. The ability of the Xerox MICR laser printer to use special fonts, or fonts on a special background field, makes check modification very difficult. However, these fonts and background also make check processing more difficult.
Security Safety papers Safety papers have a background that makes alteration easily visible. Scenic backgrounds or a repetitive pattern, such as a logo, are some examples. Safety papers that consist only of a patterned background are not foolproof. Many financial documents are produced on a base paper, on which a safety pattern is printed using stable inks.
Some countries may require that the statement be printed in more than one language. The Xerox printing system allows selection of small or compressed fonts to create space for the statements on the document.
Security Microprint Microprint is extremely small text that, unmagnified, looks like part of the check design. When magnified, it is a readable text message. Microprints are very effective in preventing check duplication because of their small image size. Like safety patterns, microprints are usually applied using conventional wet ink technologies before the stock is used in the MICR printing system.
Security Dataglyph™ Dataglyph is a new technology that permits duplicate encoding of all variable data in a covert but machine readable form. Dataglyphs appear to be shaded areas. Under close examination, patterns of left and right tilted diagonal lines can be seen.
Security • Use a check that is protected. Many checks are printed on paper that has a chemical coating or has chemicals in its internal composition that react visually when solvents are applied or erasure is attempted. • Avoid using correctable typewriter ribbons. The same feature that let you easily remove typing mistakes enables a criminal to change the information on a check.
Security Stolen checks Blank checks may be removed from the premises by employees, delivery personnel, service technicians, customers, emergency personnel, or burglars. Missing checks may not be noticed immediately. In some cases, checks are intentionally thrown away without secure disposition. Stolen checks that are successfully passed are the responsibility of the account holder, and the losses are usually not recovered.
Security • Select a good check design. Review the design features that are effective against counterfeiting. Consult with the security officer at your bank and with your check supplier when considering specific protections. • Install reconciliation procedures. Make sure that accounts are posted promptly, and that bank statements are balanced immediately upon receipt.
A. References Standards documentation The following references are for both domestic and international check standards. Table A-1. Domestic check standards Domestic standard Number Publication date Bank Check Background and Numerical Convenience Amount ANS X9.7 1988; Revised 1999 Field Specifications for Placement and Location of MICR Printing ANS X9.13 1990;...
References Table A-3. Significant international check standards International standard Number International Standards Organization MICR Printing Specifications ISO 1004 - 1995 Australian Banks Payment Association ABPS # 3 R2 ABPS # 11 R3 Association for Payment Clearing Services (UK) APACS Standard 3 Canadian Payments Association MICR Printing Standards and CPA 006 Specifications...
References Standards development process information (U. S. only) For information on joining the U.S. standards development process, contact: Associate Director, ASC X9 Secretariat c/o American Bankers Association 1120 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington, D.C. 20036 Phone: 1-202-663-5284 Fax: 1-202-663-7554 Generic MICR Fundamentals Guide...
Glossary American Bankers Association or Australian Bankers Association AFNOR L'Association Francoise de Normalisation (AFNOR). Paris-based organization like the APACS. Standards authority for CMC-7 (NFZ 63-001). aligning edge The lower edge of the check when its face is viewed. alignment The relationship between the bottom edge of a character and the bottom edge of its adjacent right character.
Glossary basis weight The industry term for expressing the weight per unit of paper. Generally defined as the weight of a given size sheet in pounds per ream (usually 500 sheets) or grams per square meter (g/m2). For banking papers, this is normally the weight in pounds of 500, 17 by 22 inch/432 by 559 mm sheets.
The process is called truncation because the physical processing of the check is cut short. chipping The removal of Xerox MICR LPS toner in reader/sorters, which is due to wear and tear stresses placed on the image by these processing devices.
Glossary curl The distortion of paper built in when paper is manufactured and placed on large rollers before being cut into sheets. Effect is intensified when paper is exposed to heat, pressure, moisture, and drying. A major cause of paper handling problems in printers.
Glossary embossment The raised impression of a printed character on a paper document. Embossment is caused on the back side of a document by impact processes that may use an excessive amount of pressure to imprint the character on the document. (See debossment.) Also termed with the type of non-impact printing.
Glossary fugitive A special print pattern, usually incorporating numerous background repetitions of the bank's corporate logo, found on check documents. The pattern reacts chemically or physically if the document is tampered with, thus providing some measure of security over whatever information is overprinted onto the pattern.
The name of a company or product in a special design; used as a trademark in advertising. magnetic ink Usually printer ink to which iron oxide particles have been added. On Xerox MICR printing systems, it is the dry ink with magnetic characteristics. mailer Specialized product incorporating glued margins, cross gluing, and carbonizing or carbonless coating so that both the outside address and insert can be printed simultaneously.
For example, the printing of three checks per page (e.g., 3-up in portrait). mylar A polyester film used to reinforce the edges of Xerox 3-hole drilled, reinforced-edge paper. The bording material for impact ribbon inks. Optical Character Recognition. A technique for reading a font optically.
As saw dust is to wood, paper dust is to paper. It is made up of loose paper fibers and other residues which naturally accrue to paper. Controlling paper dust is a serious issue for the Xerox MICR printing system in terms of extraneous ink spots.
Glossary preprinted forms Forms that have been previously printed which can be run through a printer in order to add variable data to them. print density Print density refers to the relative darkness of print on the page. Very dense print appears totally black. Less dense print looks lighter, and solid filled areas may not be totally black.
Glossary ribbon encoding The use of conventional computer impact printing technology for MICR encoding, using a print chain with the E13B characters on it and a special ribbon impregnated with magnetic material. routing number A numbering system that identifies the issuing bank. safety paper Bond paper having a surface design and/or hidden warning indicator to identify any attempt at fraudulent alteration.
Glossary texture The composition and feel of the surface of a paper, such as rough or smooth. TAPPI The abbreviation for the U.S. Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry which develops standardized test procedures for various properties of paper. trailing edge The left edge of a check when its face is viewed.
Glossary Xerography An imaging process used in copying and printing, where a photoreceptor (usually a drum or a belt) is electrically charged. Mirrors or a laser beam then remove the charge from selected sections of the photoreceptor that are not to be imaged. Afterwards, dry ink is attracted to the charged areas, forming the image to be printed.
$ symbol 4-3 tampering prevention 8-12 ANSI standards 1-3 Numerics check size 4-23 24 pound paper clear band 4-5–4-6 Xerox Dual Purpose 3-8 Convenience Amount field 4-3 300 dpi documentation A-1 character conversion table 4-22 ink spots 6-14 magnetic specification 6-4 MICR line format 4-5–4-6...
Index Signature lines 4-4 calibration document 6-4–6-5 size 4-23–4-24 characters summary by country 4-24 alignment 4-16 stolen 8-16 damaged 6-22 storage 8-3 dimensions theft prevention 8-16 CMC7 font 4-18 truncation 2-1 E13B font 4-9 chemical tampering 8-7 E13B set 4-7 clear band padding 3-15 dimensions 4-4, 4-7...
Index disposal printing 3-1 checks 8-3, 8-16 equipment 8-3 digit 4-10 diverter plate 5-10 field 4-14 Document Specifications form 4-11–4-12 equipment documents disposal 8-3 inspecting 7-12–7-14 magnetic testing 6-3–6-4 turnaround 2-2 proofing see also checks errors 5-2–5-3 drop-out errors ink 3-15 amount determination 5-2 print proofing equipment 5-2–5-3...
Index characteristics 4-20 impact printing OCR 1-3 ribbon 5-1 problem solving 7-12 tampering with 8-8–8-9 proportional 4-19–4-22 ink spots, extraneous 6-14–6-16 characteristics 4-21 inks security 3-15 drop-out 3-15 selection for preprinted forms 3-13–3-14 HP PCL escape sequence 4-20 fugitive 3-15 tampering prevention 8-10 laser printing 3-14 format...
4-5–4-6 basis weight 3-2–3-3 symbols on 4-7–4-8 care vertical positioning 6-9 see paper maintenance MICR process, Xerox 2-3 characteristics, recommended 3-2–3-8 microfibers 3-14 table 3-2 microfilm unit, reader sorter 5-9 converted from fanfold 3-2 microprint 3-14 curl 3-6, 3-10...
Index MICR line 4-5–4-6 vertical 6-7–6-9 read/write heads, reader sorter 5-9 positive pay 8-15, 8-16 readability 4-27 preprinted forms 3-13–3-17 reader sorters paper curl direction 3-6 analyzing printouts 7-14–7-15 pressure, cold dual read 5-6 tampering 8-9 function 5-1, 5-3–5-4 print file, clearing 8-5 hybrid 5-7 print quality specifications 6-1 in check life cycle 1-8...
6-21 designing applications for 3-15 Stanford Research Institute 1-2 features stiffness, paper 3-7 checks 4-1 stolen checks in Xerox laser printing systems 8-1–8-6 avoiding 8-14–8-17 logon levels 8-4 protecting against 8-16 memory and disk storage 8-4 storage papers 8-3, 8-11...
6-6–6-22 using test patterns 7-15–7-16 xerography 2-4 vertical positioning 6-7–6-9 tampering 8-9–8-10 text Amount field Xerox MICR printing systems 2-3 see Amount in Words field benefits 2-3 textures, background fuser agent 5-3 tampering prevention 8-11 Xerox MICR process 2-3...