HoMe PaGe

Cheque

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In the US, the bottom 5/8" of the cheque is a keep out zone reserved for MICR characters only, which should not be intruded upon by handwriting. One must be especially careful of lowercase descenders when filling out the signature and memo lines which are often at the bottom of the cheque in close proximity. It is advisable to treat the signature and memo lines as boundaries rather than baselines and sign above them. Intrusion into the MICR area can cause problems when the cheque runs through the clearinghouse, requiring someone to print an MICR cheque correction strip and glue it to the cheque. Many new ATMs do not use deposit envelopes and actually scan the cheque at the time it is deposited and will reject cheques due to handwriting incursion which interferes with reading the MICR. This can cause considerable inconvenience as the depositor may have to wait days for the bank to be open and may have difficulty getting to the bank even when they are open; this can delay the availability of the portion of a deposit which their bank makes available immediately as well as the balance of the deposit. Terms of service for many mobile (cell phone camera) deposits also require the MICR section to be readable. Not all of the MICR characters have been printed at the time you manually fill in the cheque as additional characters will be printed later to encode the amount; thus your sloppy signature could obscure characters that you didn't realize would later be printed there. Since MICR characters are no longer necessarily printed in magnetic ink and will be scanned by optical rather than magnetic means, the readers will be unable to distinguish pen ink from pre-printed magnetic ink; these changes allow cheques to be printed on ordinary home and office printers without requiring pre-printed cheque forms, allow ATM deposit capture, allow mobile deposits, and facilitate electronic copies of cheques.

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