Whats up with my MICR?
By Tim Dexter on Sep 02, 2009
Long'ish on and off exchange with 'Super Support Man' aka Kevin M over IM this morning trying to sort out a frustrating check printing issue a customer was having. Their bank had provided a specification sheet showing the required layout for the check including the the 'where' and 'how' the MICR string should look.
A commercial font was being used and it was not rendering correctly, basically the string was too long for the space allocated by the bank. It looked like a spacing or scaling issue on BIP's part. I had been scratching my head over it for a while - too long in fact. I can fully understand the pain and misery of not being able to cut checks - they still have to be one of the most mission critical documents for an organization today.
While chatting (typing) to 'Super Kev', I was idly trying some of the other MICR fonts I have on my machine in MSWord against the customer's font. Naming no names here are the results.
Not huge differences but enough that over a 25 character MICR string they will be significantly different enough for certain banks to reject test checks because of the length of the string.
Its not a completely fair image, two of the fonts are 'free', one of those is the MICR font included with Publisher. There are a few commercial fonts in there too but just using the vanilla font flavor.
If you want to use Publisher to generate checks and you purchase a commercial font, please check out the user guides. Im not a 'user guide' type of guy - strange considering how much effort I put into the BIP docs with Leslie. Writing documentation yourself gives you a whole new appreciation for the pain and misery folks go through writing it and then no one reads it. But I digress ... again!
Typically, the commercial vendors don't just provide a single font. They provide a range of them and a test document for you to print. From that printed document, you can then match the correct font to your bank's specification requirement.
If you use Publisher's font you should be good for spacing but there is an enhancement request out there to help you to tweak the character spacing if you need it.
Hopefully, in this case, things will now be resolved quickly and the customer can at last start cutting checks. Good luck to you with check printing and don't forget, RTFM :0)