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MICR stands for Magnetic Character Ink Recognition, and it is a type of encoding that is frequently used by banks. The blocky numerals in heavy black ink at the bottom of checks are the MICR numbers, and the magnetic ink used to print them can be read by special scanners. These numbers can be programmed to contain a lot of information, and they are easily scanned and read by the special bank machinery. MICR check printing can be done by home or small business check writers, but requires special magnetic toner. Only a few printers can accept this type of toner, and it cannot be used in inkjet printers. It's also important when doing your own MICR check printing that you take a sample of your printed check into your bank for a test read – some home magnetic inks do not register well on different banks' equipment.