Quality Control

MICR Document Quality Control

The MICR line is the vehicle that transforms a paper document into a machine-readable format. If the bank machines cannot read any of the characters in the MICR line then the document must be manually keyed which takes up valuable time and effort. This will slow the processing of checks and account updates.The manual entry option during electronic cheque clearing will soon be removed and it becomes extremely essential to make sure that the MICR line is allways accurately read by the scanners. Monthly statements may be missing information like check serial numbers and adds extra costs to the whole process. Many banks process a huge volume of documents per day and even a small margin of rejection rates could mean additional cost and time for Banks. This cost is often charged back to the customer.

With new technology isn’t the MICR line read optically? MICR Ink/Toner contains iron oxide, which is capable of being magnetized. A MICR reader machine reads the magnetic signal and transforms that information into a machine-readable format that can be used by computers. While imaging systems do read optically they still rely on the MICR line for additional information. The MICR line remains the most critical component for check processing.

MICR characters have exact measurements with regard to size, dimension, spacing and format. The tolerances are +/- 3 thousandths of an inch. If these Standards are not met, the chances of the document rejecting increases greatly which will require manual processing.

Banks use a combination of their MICR reader equipment and MICR Qualifier . The MICR Qualifier tests to the ANSI, CPA and APACS Standards. It also provides easy to read analysis reports to explain a MICR problem.

Yes, you will need to supply a PC running Windows 2000, XP or greater to operate the MICR Qualifier . The PC does not need to be a dedicated machine.

Image Document Quality Control

An Image Ready Document conforms to specific design elements that facilitate image processing. A document properly designed for imaging is one where all essential information can be captured by the imaging processes, the image will be usable, and the file sizes will be small enough so that the images can be stored and retrieved in a convenient manner.
The capture of paper-based documents is accomplished via a digital camera, normally loaded directly onto the reader-sorter machine. Character recognition software may be used to read hand-written or machine printed amounts on the document image. Successful imaging and character recognition can be affected by many factors in the document design, including background colour, screening, background pattern of the document, security patterns and the ink used to print the data. The effect of these design characteristics can be assessed by Reflectance and contrast measurements.
Bank reader sorters deploy dynamic thresholding to reduce the file size of the document image leaving only the required information for storage and truncation. An Image Ready Document allows for the background and colour to be removed so that only the required information is available and legible including: Date, Pay To, Legal Amount, Signature, Bank Name, MICR line, Serial Number, Customer Information.

Banks are required to store images for up to 7 years and the original is destroyed. The Bank is responsible to have a legible image with all of the required information. Transmitting millions of images is most effective with a small file size.
A colour image is approximately 2,000 KB while a black and white image is approximately 20 KB.
Contrast issues arise when a background that is too dark. The written information on the check disappears when the background is removed.
Noise issues can persist where the background drops out but leaves too much clutter. This excessive clutter would affect legibility and accuracy requiring a Bank to key in the data.

The Image Qualifier will test all areas of the document for the required background and foreground reflectance. It will simulate a reader sorter, provide a binary image and will test for excess clutter which could impede legibility of the information.

Go to www.x9.org and get a copy of:

  1. ANS X9.100-20 [Print and Test Specifications for Magnetic Ink Printing (MICR)
  2.  ASC X9.TR-6 [Guide to Quality MICR Printing and Evaluation]
  3.  ANSI X9.100-110-2011 & ANSI X9.100-30–2011

Go to CPA for Canadian cheque Standards. (http://www.cdnpay.ca/imis15/pdf/pdfs_rules/standard_006.pdf)

Image Design Verification Software will allow you to test image readiness of a document from an image file.

Banks use a combination of their reader sorter equipment and Image Qualifier . The Image Qualifier tests the document to the ANSI, CPA and APACS Standards. The Image Qualifier also provides easy to read analysis reports to explain an image problem.

Quality Control Service & Training

No, the Image Qualifier and MICR Verifier are easy to install and all associated software is provided on a CD with easy to follow installation instructions.

Some customers calibrate the machines daily, weekly or monthly depending on how often they use the testers. We recommends every two weeks unless the parameters are changing in which case you may want to calibrate more frequently.
Calibration documents have a limited life span. With repeated use, documents become worn and may begin to give erratic readings. Discard the worn or outdated documents and replace them with new ones.

Yes, demonstrations of our Quality Control products and services are available. Please contact your Quality Control Specialist for more information.