Difference between MICR and OCR [ MICR Vs OCR ]

The main difference between MICR and OCR or Magnetic Ink Character Reader (MICR) and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is that the MICR is mainly used for specialized and pre-defined text format such as cheque and demands draft used in banks as they use iron oxide ink which can be detected with the magnetism.

OCR is used for a wide variety of purposes unlike MICR and with the development of technology the OCR is being incorporated every where they are used for image processing, text processing, scanning documents and these are done with the help of optics (light) the OCR can even be used for searching the images or text on the internet.


Difference between MICR and OCR


MICR stands for magnetic ink character reader OCR stands for Optical character reader
MICR works with a specific format of document i.e. checks OCR works with any format of the document
MICR can only support some predefined fonts such as E – 138 OCR can support any type of fonts
MICR only scan inks that are made with iron oxide OCR can scan any variety of ink
MICR inks are specifically magnetic in nature  OCR inks can be magnetic in nature
MICR do not use artificial intelligence to recognize the text  OCR uses artificial intelligence to recognize the text
MICR requires a high speed and secure method to scan and process the information OCR may require high speed but a secure method is not always the case
MICR typeface is limited to only 14 characters which include 0-9 and special symbols OCR can support any typeface with the right software
The accuracy of MICR is always a hundred percent as it deals with the official document The accuracy of OCR is never completely a hundred percent and its accuracy increases with technological improvement
The MICR applications include particularly prevention of frauds from counterfeit checks, airlines may use MICR to validate flight tickets The OCR applications include a wide range of purposes such as recognition of text in images, scanning the written text from any file format, recognition of text from the number plate of the car, etc.
The MICR scanned data are used in the banks to recognize the information on checks and demands The OCR scanned data can be used for editing and printing such as scanning text from books and reusing it 
It uses magnetism to read the character from the text It uses light to read the character from the text
The MICR deals with pre-decided text and therefore are more accurate The OCR deals with complicated text and symbol and thus are less accurate but more useful 
The data from the MICR are more reliable The data from the OCR are less reliable
MICR requires specialized hardware programmed with some instructions to read the text OCR requires specialized software which is able to recognize the text
MICR cannot scan handwritten texts OCR can scan handwritten texts
MICR is used for processing the cheques OCR is used for editing and printing

What is Optical character recognition (OCR) ?

As Quoted by Wikipedia –

Optical character recognition or optical character reader (OCR) is the electronic or mechanical conversion of images of typed, handwritten or printed text into machine-encoded text, whether from a scanned document, a photo of a document, a scene-photo (for example the text on signs and billboards in a landscape photo) or from subtitle text superimposed on an image (for example: from a television broadcast).

The optical character reader scans the documents and recognizes the text from the document or from the picture containing text. The optical character reader converts the scanned text into text format which is in the form of ASCII. The converted text can be later changed in word processing documents. The optical character reader works by converting the grid dots and then converting those array of the grid dots into the similar ascii text which then can be processed in the word files. 

The optical character reader can deal with all forms of the printed characters. With the advancement in the technology and with help of artificial intelligence, today, optical readers are able to scan handwritten text which were earlier hard to scan and then can even regenerate the handwritten text to equivalent text format that can become editable in word processing software. 

Application of OCR

  1. Translation of words into specific languages.
  2. Recognizing the text from video feed.
  3. Converting historic manuscripts into digital searchable formats.
  4. Converting file formats.
  5. Indexing the books and other material into the search engine.
  6. Scanning the document and converting for recordable formats for the software.


What is Magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) ?

As Quoted by Wikipedia –

Magnetic ink character recognition code, known in short as MICR code, is a character recognition technology used mainly by the banking industry to streamline the processing and clearance of cheques and other documents. MICR encoding, called the MICR line, is at the bottom of cheques and other vouchers and typically includes the document-type indicator, bank code, bank account number, cheque number, cheque amount (usually added after a cheque is presented for payment), and a control indicator. The format for the bank code and bank account number is country-specific.

The MICR encoded documents can be processed much faster and accurately than the OCR encoded documents. 

The major implementation of the MICR is in the banks where it employs MICR code onto the checks. The MICR code compromise of the identification code, cheque number, and account number which are printed with the help of magnetic ink made of iron oxide particles. The major advantage of using the magnetic is that they help to read the characters even if they are overwritten or marked.  

The MICR can be used in security which minimizes the risk of loss. Such as detecting the counterfeit check produced by a color photocopying machine. In such cases, the magnetic ink will not respond to the magnetic field or will produce an incorrect code when scanned. 

For scanning the MICR encoded characters it is subjected to a special scanner which converts the magnetic information to character. 

The fonts such as E 138 and CMC-7 are the fonts that are mostly utilized in micr. 

Application of MICR

  1. The major application of the MICR is in the banks for detecting counterfeit checks. 
  2. To find information about the check owner.

Leave a Comment